“I’ve been sagging since the fourth grade,” says 28-year-old Jayson Miguel of his pants. “I’ll be sagging when I’m old and gray.”
A common fashion choice with the youth for many years now, sagging pants are now being outlawed by Flint, Michigan’s new police chief David Dicks. According to Newsweek, Dicks has ordered police to start arresting “saggers,” threatening them with jail time and fines for a fad he calls “immoral self expression.” He also told a local paper the style could give officers probable cause to search saggers.
The questionable practice has already drawn harsh criticism from many, some of whom are calling the practice downright illegal. The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is among the critics, and have given Dicks an ultimatum: stop the policy or face legal action. The ACLU says that Dicks is violating citizens’ freedom of expression and taking the law into his own hands.
In fact, sagging pants exposing boxer shorts doesn’t even constitute a violation of the city’s conduct policy, they say – a person must have “open exposure” of the “genitals, pubic area [or] buttocks” to be considered disorderly. “Under no stretch of the imagination does wearing saggy pants that
reveal the top of one’s boxer shorts violate the Flint disorderly
conduct ordinance,” says attorney Greg Gibbs, president of the Flint chapter of the ACLU. “This man has basically taken his personal dislike of a style of dress and made it a violation of criminal law.”
“I think it’s an opportunity to harass, to be honest,” says Miguel, a resident of Flint. Last week, a Flint police officer called into the radio station to say officers were using the policy to profile minorities. Dicks is an African-American.