OCALA, Fla. — Pull up or pay up: It's now illegal to wear low pants that expose underwear or bare buttocks in parts of Ocala.
ity Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an ordinance that prohibits anyone on city property from wearing pants 2 inches below their natural waist.
"I just think it's disgraceful to show your underwear," Councilwoman Mary Rich said.
It's the second time Rich requested the ordinance. In 2009, no one seconded her motion. Mayor Kent Guinn said in 2009 that one of his objects was that the ordinance would lead to profiling.
Rich told him the ordinance applies to both genders and all races.
"We try to be a nice, clean city. I think it'll help clean it up some," she said.
Residents who talked with Channel 9 on Thursday said they think young black men and teens will take the brunt of the new ordinance.
"I think this is a form of harassment," said resident Curt Brown. "(It) gets you pulled to the side, (so they can) harass you, search you and have a right to do whatever they want to."
"It just makes no sense whatsoever," said resident Adia Crumley. "It's another way to lock people up and put them in jail so the city can make money off of that."
The sagging pants ordinance is enforceable on city-owned or leased property, including sidewalks, streets, parks, sports, recreation and public transportation facilities and parking lots.
Police are expected to issue warnings at first. After that, those caught with their pants down face a $500 fine or jail time.
Rich said the Marion County school system has a dress code and no one is making a fuss over it, but critics of the ordinance said those rules are for children and nobody goes to jail if they break them.