By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Residents sporting droopy pants or skirts could face hefty fines and community service after city leaders approved a ban against the style Tuesday.
The City Council voted 5-1 to prohibit anyone from wearing pants or skirts that ride more than three inches below the top of the hips and expose skin or underwear.
Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings was the lone opponent; Ward 5 Councilman Jonny Davis was absent.
Violators can be fined $50 the first time and up to $200 for each subsequent offense. They also could be subject to complete up to 40 hours of court-approved community service.
Some council members, like Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis, lauded the measure as a way to protect the public’s sensibilities.
“If it’s a man, exposing his behind parts is like mooning or something,” she said during a Monday work session. “It’s very offensive to people.”
But Jennings ridiculed the ban as an unnecessary burden on law enforcement officials. He also questioned how one would measure whether clothing fell below three inches of the hips.
Police Chief Tony Carleton, who did not lobby for the ordinance, admitted it would be difficult to enforce. He did, however, say it would give officers another valid reason to stop people and engage them. That encounter could then reveal other violations, like public intoxication or drug possession.
The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days. It supplements a law already on the books prohibiting indecent exposure.