Judge rules saggy pants OK in NYC

July 29, 2010 2:56:15 PM PDT
It's a trend we've all seen like it or not, pants hanging so low, you can often see the person's underwear.

Sagging pants have become a criminal offense in a growing number of communities, but a judge says not in New York.

"I've been doing this as long as I can remember, I guess it's a New York thing," Robert Zamora said.

It's not uncomfortable or unfashionable.

It is just how 21-year-old Robert Zamora wears his pants.

"I've heard of that before. People getting tickets and being bothered by the police about pants being low," Zamora said.

Some may call it harassment, but a New York City police officer considered it disorderly conduct, and issued a summons to a man named Julio Martinez in the Bronx in April 2009.

The police officer who issued the summons alleges that Mr. Martinez acted in a disorderly manner because he had "his pants down below his buttocks, exposing underwear potentially showing private parts".

Judge Ruben Franco issued his decision last month. He tossed it out, stating the summons "is devoid of any allegation that Mr. Martinez's conduct in wearing his pants below the waistline disturbed the public tranquility."

And that: "The issuance of this summons appears to be an attempt by one police officer to show his displeasure with a particular style of dress."

"It's beautiful. Because that let's you know we're not in a country where people can tell you how to dress," Zamora said.

Earlier this year, New York State Senator Eric Adams, launched a 'Stop the Sag' public awareness campaign with an online video and billboards in Brooklyn.

Some Bronx residents share his unfavorable opinion of the style, and wish a better dress code is something the police and courts could enforce.

"Maybe that judge needs to walk the streets like everybody else and see what's going on because they need to clamp down on it," said Morrisania resident, Joanne Belfast.

"It's from jail. I've seen things where guys were their pants down to here, just to walk like it's all right," said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, Jeffrey Washington.

Anthony Lora once wore his pants way below his waist.

But his teachers used the art of sweet persuasion to change his style.

"I kind of stopped that. I got into a little habit in school. They gave me ice cream everyday to wear them above. I wear them normally now," said Longwood resident, Anthony Lora.

Perhaps that's a method social activists should consider.