Cocoa's saggy-pants ban goes into effect Jan. 1. Photo courtesy Florida Today
Cocoa, FL (Florida Today) -- The newly elected mayor of Cocoa wants the city
council to consider the ramifications of the law banning saggy pants
before it goes into effect Jan. 1.
Mayor Henry Parrish is concerned the measure could lead to a costly legal fight if the ordinance is contested in court.
are asking for trouble," Parrish said. "I believe this would open the
city to a big lawsuit. Defending it is going to cost taxpayers a lot of
called for a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the council to
reconsider the ordinance that will ban pants or skirts that expose
underwear or skin more than 3 inches below the waistline.
law would only be enforced on streets, sidewalks and other city
property. Although it was passed in October, enforcement was delayed to
educate the community about the ordinance.
ordinance drew international attention - much of it mocking - after it
was passed. A Google search of "Cocoa saggy pants law" on Friday
produced 963,000 results.
of the three council members who voted in favor of the ordinance, Mike
Blake and Jake Williams, were replaced after the November election by
Parrish and Councilwoman Brenda Warner.
The mayor wants the opportunity to decide on the ordinance before it goes in to effect.
Attorney Anthony Garganese was asked to prepare an ordinance to repeal
the law in case the council makes that decision Tuesday.
president of the Central Brevard Branch of the NAACP, Alberta Wilson,
has lobbied for overturning the ordinance. Although the mother of two
sons doesn't approve of the fashion statement, she believes the law
treads on an individual's civil rights.
am adamantly against young people walking around looking like that, it
is degrading," Wilson said. "However, that does not allow any
municipality or any other government entity to infringe people's civil
ordinance calls for a civil fine of $25 for first written citation after
an initial verbal warning from police or code enforcement staff.
2010, Cocoa abandoned efforts to pass a similar ordinance because of
constitutional court challenges facing other municipalities that enacted
Wilson feels the law creates unreasonable probable cause for law enforcement to engage individuals on the street.
"They wanted a mechanism by which the Cocoa Police Department could further harass our young people," Wilson said.
The mayor also is worried that enforcement could be seen as profiling.
believe if we let it go into law, it is going to put us in a position
where we are going to be perceived as possibly stereotyping
individuals," Parrish said.