Belt or Bust: Florida Police Arrest Man for Wearing Baggy Pants

Kenneth Smith will think twice when he next dresses to go out in Riviera Beach, Florida. The twenty-nine-year-old was arrested for the unspeakable offense of wearing baggy pants, the most recent example of the over-criminalization of life in America.

Riviera Beach is one of a number of city to criminalize baggy pants or any outfit that involves the “exposure of undergarment in public”. He was also charged with disorderly conduct and faces a $150 fine for this clothing style. If he is wise, he will immediate appear in nothing but a thong, which is apparently fine.

If he is arrested again, the fashion tzars of Riviera Beach could put him in jail for 30 days. Legislators appear to be in the midst of a spasm of criminal laws covering everything from missing parent-teacher meetings to cloths styles, here and here.

For the full story, click here.

17 thoughts on “Belt or Bust: Florida Police Arrest Man for Wearing Baggy Pants”

  1. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 60-odd years, it’s that clothing fads come and (more importantly) go. This too shall pass. Of course, the more you make the wearers of these fashions into anti-establishment martyrs, the longer the fad will last.

    Once again, why do so many of the goofiest stories come from Florida?

  2. Honestly? A war on the poor?

    Please. Take a look at the brand names of these pants that are hanging down so low. I know *I* can’t afford that tab. And I’m doing alright.

    For those who somehow still don’t get it – it’s a DECENCY thing. Nobody wants to see your underwear. You have NO RIGHT to force the sight of your underwear on anyone else. It’s called COMPLETING THE ACT OF GETTING DRESSED LIKE A DECENT, GROWN ADULT.

    Good for Riviera Beach for this.

  3. “NOTHING about the events in St. Paul????? They raided people’s homes; infiltrated antiwar and antipoverty protest groups; they went after the Green Party for pete’s sake! And nothing in your blog about this????”

    Good point.

    Although I think Vincent Bugliosi’s case against G.W. Bush for murder is far more compelling.

    Nothing in your blog comment about that?

  4. Dear Professor (of constitutional law):

    NOTHING about the events in St. Paul????? They raided people’s homes; infiltrated antiwar and antipoverty protest groups; they went after the Green Party for pete’s sake! And nothing in your blog about this????

  5. What, what, you mean Halloween costumes aren’t a form of devil worship?

    Rafflaw, are you sure about that?

  6. I am no longer shocked at any stupid law that the over religious city fathers around the country seem intent on passing. This is a huge waste of taxpayers money and police time to deal with a fashion statement. Will these same city fathers(and mothers)ban the bikini next? Will color combination requirements be far behind? Will I not be able to just dress like a fool without worrying about jail time? What about Halloween? Will costumes be banned because they look weird or are examples of devil worship? I do not hesitate to say that the far religious right is the genesis for this kind of nonsense. Without keeping religion our of government as required by the Constitution, we are headed for a Taliban style fake Christian government.

  7. Oh, hey, don’t get me wrong Palindrome. I think the current Bush admin. and their ilk are a bunch of crypto-facists. They’re actually the inverse (converse?) of your harmless-gangsta-wannabe. While pretending to be God’s favorite flock while they’re destroying our constitution and encouraging people to reform our country to some model from the middle ages. Science out; torture, creationism, baby-Jebus, and blow-dried white folk in.

    No, believe me, I get it, they’re assholes. And these laws are bullshit. But there’s plenty that’s wrong with a culture that glorifies violent, misogenistic, illiterate, street thugs.

    The very rich and those with almost nothing will always do what ever the Hell they want. And in that sense the radical right and your average gang-banger have alot in common.

    The middle class will always pick up the tap for the sociopaths at either end of the spectrum. But pretty soon there will be no middle class left.

  8. Seamus, I agree with you that these laws are stupid, but I don’t follow your segue to calling out the gangsta subculture. I think that the authoritarians in our society have gone completely out of their collective minds. Arresting someone for baggy pants? SWAT raids to houses where someone “might” offend the GOP? Forget about the subcultures, call out the jerks in charge.

  9. Funny stuff, Seamus!

    Two lessons I think the police, politicians and real people should learn:
    – the greatest priority is to have your priorities straight
    – the thicker the rulebook, the worse the organisation

  10. These laws are really stupid. We all know that most people who wear their pants like that are going to be punished enough as it is by being viewed as criminals and morons. Most aren’t criminals, they’ve just decided to ape the thug look.
    Corporations are making millions off marketing this look to the young and stupid. Some of these people, like Russell Simons, are then honored at events such as the NAACP Image Awards.
    Even white kids, “whiggers”, can adopt the look and pretend that there hard men of the street, killers, pimps, and illiterate absentee-fathers.
    These laws are stupid. Laws banning corn-rowed hair, or having designs etched in your hair would be equally stupid.
    However, liberals (and surprise, I am a liberal and a criminal defense attorney)need to get over their fear of being called rascist, and call out the purveyers of this life-style for the jackasses that they are. It is a bankrupt subculture in every sense. Fortunately, these people pay my mortgage!!!

  11. This is exactly the kind of law and nanny-ism that inflames me. I may not like your dress but to equate that with some crimnal activity is preposterous. It is more race baiting than anything else since the town fathers likely see this as a crackdown on a particular segment of the population, their pious sentiments towards public decencey notwithstanding. If exposed undergarmets are the crime, Victoria’s Secret may need to retain Ted Wells.

  12. I see many of these laws, and certainly our drug laws, as part of the war on the poor. I am not saying that only poor people wear baggy pants or use drugs–far from it. What I do mean is that the poor don’t have the resources to fight these laws once they are cited or arrested.

    It’s worth asking with police dept. budgets stressed to “the thin blue line”, why do we continue to criminalize more and more actions? I think Susan has spoken to this issue quite well in her past posts.

    As to drugs…Students for Sensible Drug policy puts out these figures:
    1. more than 50 Billion for “the war of drugs” 2. 55% inmates in federal prison are incarcerated for drug offenses and 3. U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but houses 25% of the world’s prisoners.

    This nation desperately needs to rethink our notions of freedom, justice and equality. We need to rethink how we treat the poor. We need to know where all the money is really going, because it’s our money being spent. Is this what we want from our money?

  13. Oh dearie me. What will we do if the slip dress comes back into fashion? Next thing we know the religious police will be throwing acid on men’s butts for showing their underwear.

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