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article imageFlint Michigan police to crack down on sagging pants that reveal too much

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jun 27, 2008 in Crime
Flint Michigan has a new police chief who objects to pants that expose butt cracks. Those who show too much of their rear ends can now be arrested, fined and jailed.
Flint Michigan's acting Police Chief David R. Dicks announced on Thursday that those people who wear pants or shorts that are too low and expose their rear ends will be arrested.
As reported in the MLive.com Dicks released a statement that said, "This immoral self expression goes beyond free speech. "It rises to the crime of indecent exposure/disorderly persons."
There are a few cities nationwide that have banned pants that are too low and that reveal butt cracks. The style is objectionable to many but how will it be enforced is a question. Some are afraid that it will target young black men more than other groups. Others wonder if ultra-low riders should be considered Constitutionally protected.
An ACLU attorney in Flint, Greg Gibbs, said all forms of clothing are not protected by the Constitution even if some say it is a form of expression.
Gibbs said,
"The issue is: Does it violate the First Amendment?" He added that he plans on more research on the issue.
According to Dicks he has received a "significant" amount of complaints from the citizens in Flint.
The orders are for any officer who sees "sagging/exposing buttocks" has probable cause to make the arrest under the city's disorderly person ordinance. The arrest is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a $500 fine and three months in jail.
Frances Gilcreast the Flint president of the NAACP said he is not a fan of the style but because it is a fashion that young black men favor his worry is that police are focusing on that style.
Gilcreast stated
"I'm not interested in looking at anyone's underwear. "My concern is how (the policy) will be applied equitably."
How it will be enforced is a concern of some of Flint's police officers.
Keith Speer, president of the Flint Police Officers Association said in the past they would issue a warning if there was too much skin showing. The arrests were for those with "full moons"
Speer said, "Most of the time, if they're wearing sagging pants they're also wearing boxers."
Speer doesn't expect that there will be any big changes in how the issue is handled by the officers.
Speer said, "It's like issuing a memo telling officers to enforce the law. "Are we going to get a memo every time somebody complains?"
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