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article imageACLU tells Flint Michigan sagging pants not a crime

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jul 15, 2008 in Crime
ACLU of Michigan tells Flint's acting Police Chief it is not a crime to wear sagging pants. They said Flint police should fight crime not the latest fashion fad.
Two related reports tell of acting Flint Police Chief David R. Dicks cracking down on, well cracks. Sagging pants, depending on how much is exposed could be subject to arrest and a fine.
Monday a letter was sent to acting Flint Police Chief David R. Dicks saying the right to wear sagging pants is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Dicks has ordered the police officers to arrest anyone who wears sagging pants that expose Skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms.
The letter called for a response from the Police Department by July 21 and stated there was to be an immediate halt to stopping and searching anyone with low-riding pants. If it doesn't cease the ACLU said it would be willing to represent anyone in federal court who either has or had a "legitimate fear" of being stopped, threatened or charged under the new law.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan's legal director Michael J. Steinberg says the new law gives police the authority to conduct unconstitutional searches and seizures. He said it promotes racial profiling, violates due process and interferes with individuals' freedom to express themselves in their appearance.
According to Steinberg said, "Given that Flint has one of the highest crime rates in the country, you would think the police chief would be fighting crime instead of the latest fashion fad."
Dicks told the Free Press last week in an interview that wearing pants below the waist is a crime. It is a violation of Flint's disorderly conduct ordinance and it can give police probable cause to search those with saggy pants for other crimes, such as weapon or drug possession.
Those with sagging pants would be searched and could spend 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Steinberg said, "It is not the job of the police officer to enforce his idea of what dress is appropriate when no crime is being committed."
He said the ACLU does not want to go to court but was prepared to do so.
Steinberg said,"It's another matter if you can see their naked buttocks ... but it is not a crime to wear sagging pants where boxers are exposed."
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