City of Atlanta weighs ban on baggy pants

today Aug 29, 2007
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ATLANTA, Georgia, Aug 28, 2007 (AFP) - Atlanta residents squared off Tuesday 28th at a public hearing on a proposed city-wide ban on low-slung pants -- or any clothing that exposes underwear in public.

Middle-aged and elderly residents in this southern US city booed and hissed James Fancy, 19, as he pulled his shorts down at the city council meeting to expose striped boxers, and Tabby Chase, 30, as she stood up to reveal a bra under a fishnet-shirt.

Both underwear flashers held up a sign saying "Clothes are not a crime."

"Disgusting," said a man in the back of the room.

The proposed ordinance is the brainchild of city council member C.T. Martin, deputy chairman of the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee.

Martin said his injunction is aimed at young people in Atlanta who wear their shorts low enough to expose their underwear, typically boxer shorts -- considered a fashion trend.

The ordinance, which would fine violators, would also prohibit women from exposing the top strap of their thong underwear.

Martin said baggy shorts are part of an epidemic of bad behavior by youths in Atlanta who are trying to be hip. Others at the hearing said it was particularly an issue in the black community.

Jimmy Person, who opposes the measure, said it gives police another way to harass black males on the street.

"Why don't you all pass a bill to make sure these young people can read and write," Person admonished the four-member city council.

Very low-slung trousers are already banned in the southern US city of Delcambre, in Louisiana, where offenders' cheek can earn them a fine of 500 dollars (350 euros) or up to six months in jail.

But council communications director Dexter Chambers told AFP that Atlanta would not be so harsh.

"There would only be a small fine, no jail time at all," he said, adding that the city officials "would rather send young men and women to college than jail."

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