City Drops Controversial Saggy Pants Ordinance

Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

saggypants-exampleAfter a backlash from the general public and lack of support, the Florida city of Ocala repealed its ban against wearing saggy pants on public property.

During a city council meeting members voted 4-1 to repeal ordinance 2014-44 “Clothing requirements on public property” that called for a punishment of up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.

Among the public were representatives of the NAACP who voiced concern the law would target African-American youth.

The lone dissenter to the repeal, Councilwoman Mary Rich who authored the original ordinance, argued that she believes the types of people who wear saggy pants also don’t have jobs.

“And when you don’t have money to feed your family, what do you do? Steal,” Rich said. “I don’t think we’re violating their First Amendment rights.” Her words caused a stir in the audience.

In brief, the ordinance prohibited the wearing of pants that exposes underwear or the buttocks. The text of the former ordinance read:


Sec. 15-91. – Purpose.

It is the purpose of this article to promote, protect and improve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city by prohibiting insufficient clothing and manner of dress on all city owned property, especially city parks or recreation facilities frequented by children and families. In particular, it is the purpose of this article is to promote good morals, public health and hygiene by providing clothing standards which ensure that the buttocks of any person on city owned property (e.g., parks and recreational facilities) is sufficiently covered.

(Ord. No. 2014-44, § 1, 7-15-14)
Sec. 15-92. – Intent.

The intent of this article is to provide specific minimal clothing standards which can be consistently applied to all persons that use or come on to city owned property.

(Ord. No. 2014-44, § 1, 7-15-14)
Sec. 15-93. – Definitions.

City owned property means any park, recreation facility, sports field, swimming pool, parking lot, municipal building, public square or gathering area, roadway, sidewalk, bike path or like transportation facility, terminal, airport, water or sewer facility owned or leased by the City of Ocala.

Natural waistline means that area immediately above a person’s hips.

Underwear means an article of personal wear that is worn between the skin and an outer layer of clothing. “Underwear” includes, but is not limited to, boxer shorts, jockey shorts and thongs.

(Ord. No. 2014-44, § 1, 7-15-14)
Sec. 15-94. – Public decency.


It is unlawful for any person, while on city owned property, to knowingly or intentionally wear pants below the person’s natural waistline in a manner that leaves the person’s underwear or bare buttocks exposed. A person’s underwear is “exposed” if, when measured vertically, more than two inches of it is visible. A person’s bare buttock[s] are “exposed” if any portion of the person’s intergluteal cleft is visible.


It shall be presumed that a person knowingly or intentionally violated the requirements of this article when that person has been notified by a police officer of the violation and requested to conform to the ordinance’s requirement and subsequently while still on city owned property fails to comply with the requirements of this article despite the warning.


Any person violating any of the prohibitions of this section shall, may be punished as provided in City Code section 1-9 ons [sic] of this section shall, may be punished as provided in City Code section 1-9.


In 2008, a Florida judge decided a similar ruling that landed a teenager in jail was “unconstitutional”.

The 17-year-old spent a night in jail after police arrested him for exposing 4 inches of boxer shorts in Riviera Beach in Southeast Florida.

A circuit judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on “the limited facts” of the case.

The city is getting out of the fashion police business, at least for now. In their misplaced quest to dress up the city’s image, the fact that the British press picked up the story certainly exposed themselves to some unwanted publicity.

By Darren Smith


Ocala Star Banner
Ocala, Florida City Code
BBC News

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46 thoughts on “City Drops Controversial Saggy Pants Ordinance”

  1. Bunch of spineless cowards on the city board. Let the COPS carry auto BB guns. When they see an individual with saggy pants or a butt-crack showing, lite up his or her back-side with the BB’s. They’ll get the message!

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