Tupelo considers baggy pants ban

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Baggy pants could cost you big money if Tupelo officials pass a proposed ban on the fashion trend.
City leaders have asked an attorney to draft an ordinance against baggy, drooping pants that reveal the wearer’s backside and underwear. They also recommend a fine for offenders of up to $1,000.
“I think it’s very indecent,” said Ward 4 City Councilwoman Nettie Davis. “Exposing their underwear and other body parts, we’re sick and tired of it.”
But council President Fred Pitts said he’s concerned about legislating fashion and worries where it will lead. He’s not sure the city should get involved.
The issue surfaced at a Sept. 20 City Council meeting when the Rev. J.C. Humphrey lamented the style, which is popular among young men, and asked council members to take action.
He mentioned that other cities nationwide have passed their own bans.
Ward 1 Councilman Markel Whittington said he has researched other cities’ ordinances and recommended Tupelo pass one of its own.
“I’d like to see it on our study agenda and have our attorney draft an ordinance,” he said. “Baggy pants are fine as long your underwear aren’t showing.”
But Whittington admitted it would be difficult to enforce. He said offenders probably would hike up their pants when they saw the police, only to let them loose again afterward.
The key to eradicating baggy pants, said Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton, is spreading the word through billboards and other media. Once people realize the city has banned them, they won’t be “cool” anymore, he said.
It’s unclear when leaders will vote.