Hopefully, the saggy pants saga has ended. The Shreveport city council voted 6-1 to repeal this ordinance Tuesday, June 12.
The vote had been decided long ago—like after the May 27 work session, if not before. This issue has dominated local news since that date.
Speakers at four consecutive council meetings pushed all limits of civility.
They shouted, used insulting language, exceeded speaking time rules, and directed comments to the mayor, the police chief and those in the chamber. All of which is contrary to council rules.
The ordinance needed to be repealed on the basis of legislating morality. If the council rules had allowed, the ordinance would have been repealed on May 28.
The racial composition of those arrested for violations of this ordinance was an emphasis of many speakers. None of the speakers addressed the reality that rarely does one see a white male with sagging pants.
Very few speakers acknowledged that citizens should follow the directions of law enforcement officers versus run from them. No one mentioned that the officer chasing Anthony Childs was also black.
Sagging pants is no longer a crime in Shreveport. And that is a good thing. The active citizen participation in council meetings is a testament to democratic government.
However, the behavior of many speakers and audience members was as much a black eye on Shreveport as was the ordinance itself. Progress on sensitive social issues can be accomplished in a much more civilized fashion, especially when the council is receptive to the requested change.
John E. Settle Jr.
My June 17 blog supported the repeal of the sagging pants ordinance.