Ocala has two options when it comes to the ‘saggy pants' ban
OCALA, Fla. - Ocala is headed back to the drawing board after banning saggy pants around the city. City leaders will now decide whether to repeal the ban or amend it. One council member, who pushed for the ordinance two months ago, isn't happy. And some residents showed up at the council chambers as the council discussed it Tuesday to let them know they’re not happy it’s even on the table again. Councilwoman Mary Sue Rich can't stand the trend. "It's just terrible when you see people walking around the street and their underwear is showing," Rich said. Last month, Ocala council members unanimously passed an ordinance that made it a criminal offense for someone to wear their pants 2 inches below the natural waistline, exposing underwear or bare bottom, while on city-owned property. The ordinance, proposed by Rich, has come under fire from the NAACP and others, who say it targets young black men. Violators could be fined up to $500 and spend up to 60 days in jail. "Once we start telling people what their pants should look like, we're going to have to start telling people they aren't allowed to show cleavage," said one resident at the meeting. The mayor asked council members to reconsider the decision, which could send someone to jail for up to six months and nail them with $500 in fines. Tuesday, two more options went before council members. One would make wearing saggy pants a civil infraction, which could have someone paying up to $125 in fines, but no jail time. The other would repeal the ordinance altogether. "We have other things to worry about," said Councilman Brent Malever Channel 9’s Deneige Broom asked Malever why the council voted for it less than two months ago, but now wants to repeal it. "I think people passed it and then we thought about it later, and you have second thoughts and you have a right to do that," Malever said. Council members expect a lot more people to show up for the second reading on Sept. 16, when they could make a decision.