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Court Rules Police Can Pull Up Suspects' Saggy Pants

Court Rules Police Can Pull Up Suspects' Saggy Pants

Minneapolis Star Tribune via YellowBrix

September 15, 2010

ST. PAUL, MN – White Castle, weed and baggy pants. It has all the elements of a comedy, but throw in a concealed handgun, a suspected drug deal and a wardrobe malfunction, and it’s a Minnesota Court of Appeals case that even compelled a judge to quote an “American Idol” audition.

St. Paul police officer Kara Breci and her partner spotted a possible drug deal in a car at a White Castle parking lot in November 2008. They ordered the men out of their vehicle and told them to put their hands in the air. That’s when suspect Frank Irving Wiggins’ baggy pants, already dangerously low at the knees, fell to the pavement.

Breci hoisted the jeans and found a .38-caliber pistol inside the front pocket. Wiggins was eventually convicted of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person and sentenced to five years in prison. He challenged the legality of the pants-hoisting, with the case ultimately landing at the state Court of Appeals.

“This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of a novel police procedure which, as far as we can tell, has never been reviewed on appeal by this court or any other,” wrote Judge Kevin G. Ross in an opinion filed Tuesday.

Breci and her partner encountered Wiggins and another man in a car in a high drug-activity area. A third man popped into the backseat. His hands were suspiciously slider-free.

“No one in the car appeared to be eating,” Ross wrote.

The officers approached, and the backseat passenger admitted that a plastic bag contained marijuana. That’s when the men were ordered out, and the pants fell.

Breci felt the gun through Wiggins’ pants and asked him about it. He denied knowing what it was. Breci removed the gun.

Wiggins, 24, later tried to suppress the gun evidence in his case before district court, citing unlawful seizure and pat-search, but was denied.

Ross wrote that the circumstances of the drug search would “lead a reasonable officer to suspect that Wiggins was engaging in a drug deal,” and that Breci’s actions were not unconstitutional.

The judge wrote that Breci’s actions weren’t a search, but “incidental contact.”

“Perhaps [Breci] decided to raise Wiggins’ pants to afford him a bit of dignity regardless of her planned search,” Ross wrote in the opinion. “Or perhaps she wanted to avoid the risk of contacting his genitalia through his underwear during her pat-search.”

Breci’s actions were intended to provide Wiggins with privacy, not deprive him of it, as a search would, Ross wrote. “We acknowledge that one might be offended by an officer’s realigning of his pants: It is the sort of thing that one usually prefers to do for himself,” the decision read. "Wiggins argues that affirming the district court would encourage officers to trample the privacy of young people who participate in this baggy-pants fashion trend. The concern is unwarranted.

“We are confident that our opinion will not be misconstrued to suggest that an officer can freely meddle with a person’s clothes to the refrain, ‘Pants on the ground, pants on the ground’…”

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Excellent. He needs to wear clean underwear in case of his wardrobe malfunction.

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good to see/hear

  • 1202749377_m_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I have to things to say about this trend. First, its helpful in the police world because from experience I've found suspects have a harder time running from me because their pants are falling off their butt. Second, if you wanna see these guys pull up their pants you can always do what I do. I had a group of guys stopped one time and one guy had his pants falling to his knees with his boxers hanging out. I advised him that that fashion started in jail. It was a way for gay inmates to indicate they wanted to have sex. I've never seen guys pull their pants up so fast. I usually use that routine when dealing with guys that wear their pants sagging. Seems to work quite well.

  • Img_2225_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I just don't understand the culture. The pants sometimes are way below the ass cheeks. I guess it goes along with all the other cool things......not knowing how to wear a baseball cap the right way.....making sure the drivers seat is reclined and resting on top of the back seat......oh gives me the laughs I need on a boring day...........

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago

    It's kind of sad but like in the online game I play (Playstation HoMe application), there are even saggy/baggy pants that clearly are showing the avatar's underthings. It's quite disgusting really. That's how I friended one of my virtual friends was when I listened to her complain that she has to tolerate those clothes in the real world, and now she had to tolerate them in the virtual world too. It's just poor fashion sense. It doesn't even scream the words "bad boy" it screams the word "scrub." As in the TLC song "No Scrubs." I don't understand why people just don't get it though.

  • Imagesca4xarl3gatekeeper911_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good Job Officer Breci! and Good Decission Judge Ross, So now will Pants on da ground, be a new Rap Song? .... Pants on da ground,,,, Pants on da ground,,,, I knows ya'll be sorry,,, da police came around,,,, when ya had,,, your Pants on da ground..lmbo

  • Img_0154_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    wish our courts would institute this

  • 300_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    hehe good one guys

  • Img_0231_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I love te Court's use of humor, "Pants on the ground, pants on the ground...". Did they really include that in their decision? That's awesome!

  • 26213_100959556606703_100000779764078_24284_18998_n_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I compliment the officer in the way she carried out her duties. I once followed that fashion trend and found out quickly it's not the greatest one. I do see how it would be easy to conceal almost any kind of weapon and agree to such ruling by a judge.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    That's what happens when you have more pulling your pants down than you do to hold them up - LOL!!!

  • Praying_mantis_3_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Seems like a nice way to uncover the truth! Good job!

  • Shrel-only_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    THANK YOU OFFICER Breci!. Job Well Done!!!
    Pants on the ground, pants on the ground. Guess he will never love the tune.

  • Badge2_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Maybe the Officer attempted to lift up the pants not to expose the shit stain this poor bastard had when confronted by the officers and possibly crapping himself when knowing they have been busted of a drug deal..lmao

  • Honorvalor_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Bump everyone

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