Warner Robins Councilman Wants to Revisit Saggy Pants Law

5:34 PM, Apr 27, 2011   |    comments
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A law against saggy pants in Warner Robins is a getting second look.

Section 13-2, labeled "prohibition of certain personal behavior", has been been on the books for more than two years, but has never been enforced.

A city councilman wants the law rewritten to make it easier to enforce. Others we talked with want it erased from the city code.

Council Member John Williams says he's not judging people by what they wear, but wants people in public places to show respect.

Williams said, "Maybe their t-shirt is too short, the pants are too low, actually seeing exposed skin, which is really indecent."

Antonio Hogue likes his look, wearing his pants far below his waistline.

To people who criticize his clothing, he says, "I understand you don't want to see my drawers. Don't look at me. Don't look. Keep going."

He says it's not a crime, just his style. Hogue said, "We're not really bad people because we wear our shorts out like that. It's habit."

His friend Kendell Carpenter knows the stigma often-associated with wearing sagging pants.

Carpenter said, "I know how people are. They try to judge you by what you look like. You look at him (Hogue), and think he's some kind of gangster, but I know him personally. That man ain't no gangster."

Under the current law, police can ticket people if their body or undergarments show three inches below the belt. But unless police carrying some sort of measuring device, that can be hard to enforce and even more difficult to hold-up in court, said Williams.

Councilman Williams also wants to lower ticket fines from $500 to $25, after concerns from the local NAACP about who would pay for the tickets.

Williams said, "It's putting an imposition on the parents rather than the child."

He suggested that children and teens could also work off fines through community service.

Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans says he has looked at indecent exposure ordinances in other cities, and one similar to Dublin's may be easier for police to enforce. Dublin's labels specific body parts as prohibited from public exposure.

Dublin Police Chief Wayne Cain says since says since their city council put the law on the books last September, police have issued two citations and a few warnings.

Cain believes the publicity the ordinance received helped deter some of the problem.

Williams says the issue is not on the upcoming Warner Robins council agenda, but he intends to discuss at one of their next few meetings.

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