Over the last 12 years, 726 people have been arrested in Shreveport, Louisiana, for sagging their pants. And a new report reveals Black men account for 96 percent of those arrests.
The findings were obtained by the Shreveport Times on May 22 from the Shreveport Police Department.
After a law was passed in 2007 that prohibited people from wearing their pants below their waistline and exposing their skin or underwear, 699 Black men were arrested for violating the ordinance. By comparison, 12 white men were detained for doing the same.
The percentage of arrests creeps higher when taking into account Black men and women who sag. When adding the 13 Black women arrested, 98% of sagging arrests were of Black people. On the other hand 13 white people — one woman and 12 men — accounted for the remaining 2% of sagging arrests over the last dozen years.
“Since 2007, 726 individuals have been issued a summons or have been taken into custody for violating City Ordinance 50-167,” Public Information Officer Christina Curtis said in an emailed statement to the newspaper.
Ordinance 50-167 states those who break the law can be issued a citation and summoned to court. However, that does not warrant an arrest in and of itself nor does it justify “a full search of the person cited.” A first offense of the ordinance will lead to a $100 fine and up to an eight-hour day of picking up trash or other court-approved community services. By the third offense, fines tick up to $250 and up to four eight-hour days of trash picking.
In addition to the statement Curtis issued, she also sent Shreveport Times a data set of arrests for violating the sagging ordinance for each month of the year from August 2007 to April 2019.
“Some individuals received a summons and some were taken into custody,” read a memo along the bottom.
As for whether or not any individuals were arrested just for sagging, which the ordinance states is not grounds for apprehension, Curtis was not completely sure.
“We don’t believe anyone was booked directly into the city jail solely for sagging,” she told the publication. “We have to read through 726 reports to know that for sure.”
Meanwhile, City Councilwoman LeVette Fuller has pushed for a repeal of the law, The Associated Press reported. During a discussion in the Shreveport City Council last month, Fuller said the law will likely result in litigation against the city.
“We already have laws against indecent exposure on the books,” she said, noting the sagging law is redundant.
The meeting discussed the national-headline-making incident involving Anthony Childs, a Black man who died in February after a confrontation with police for wearing sagging pants.
The incident, in which Childs fled from the officer, was captured on dashcam video.
Childs, 31, reportedly issued a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest at one point. The coroner’s report stated there were also three nonlethal bullet wounds from an officer who shot him from a distance. The victim’s sister has wondered why officers shot at her brother when he was already on the ground, the AP reported.