City Council Approves Lightfoot’s Proposal to Expand and Extend Teen Curfew | Chicago News

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The Chicago City Council voted 30 to 19 to extend and extend the city’s teen curfew, ratifying Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s controversial response to a wave of downtown violence among Chicago’s youth.

The vote, delayed Monday by parliamentary proceedings amid a barrage of criticism, came over objections from the ACLU of Illinois, which warned city officials that the change “would exacerbate tensions between police and young people”.

The city’s curfew now begins at 10 p.m. seven days a week and applies to 17-year-olds. In effect since 1992, the city’s curfew allowed teenagers to stay outside until 11 p.m. and only covered those 16 and under.

Read the amended law here.

Proponents of the measure said it would be justified if it saved the life of a single teenager.

“We hold the title of world-class city. Madam President, I ask: how can we claim this title if we don’t do our best to make sure the people of the city of Chicago are safe? Ald asked. Chris Taliaferro (29th arrondissement), chairman of the city council’s public safety committee.

Progressive aldermen voted against the extension and expansion en bloc, saying Lightfoot had provided no evidence or data showing the curfew change would be effective in reducing violence or crime.

Aldus. Mike Rodriguez (22nd Ward) said expanding the city’s curfew would likely increase crime and violence.

“We need to stop trying to prevent crime based on hunches,” Rodriguez said.

Aldus. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th Precinct) said the extended and expanded curfew would actually increase crime, citing studies from Washington, DC and other cities.

“A vote for this ordinance is a vote to increase gun violence,” Ramirez Rosa said.

Lightfoot called the statement “offensive” and responded sarcastically to the impassioned opposition, suggesting it’s less than “smashing” to increase Chicago’s teen curfew by an hour and include 17 year olds.

The vote is a victory for Lightfoot, who is under increasing pressure to stop violent crime in the Loop and along Michigan Avenue. Expected to officially announce his candidacy for a second term in the coming weeks, a recent poll commissioned and released by U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, as he weighed a race against mayor found crime is the problem largest in Chicago, and only 7% of respondents said Lightfoot effectively solved the problem.

Lightfoot proposed changing the city’s curfew for 30-year-olds after the murder of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday just before 7:30 p.m. on May 14 in the heart of Millennium Park amid what Lightfoot called “chaos and violence useless”. A 17-year-old has been charged in connection with his death.

The number of documented violations of the city’s teen curfew dropped 85% between 2021 and 2018, according to data presented to the city council. No reason was provided for this drop.

If an officer determines that a teenager has violated the city’s curfew, they are required to bring them home and return them to the custody of a responsible parent or guardian. Parents of teens who violate curfew can be cited and forced to appear before a hearing officer representing the city. The teens themselves are not cited or charged with a crime if and when they violate curfew, officials said.

The city’s curfew law allows Chicago police officers to “take such minor into custody until the parent, legal guardian, or other adult having custody or lawful custody of the minor be located and informed of the violation, and take custody of the minor from the police. If none of these people can be located within a reasonable time, the minor will be referred to the competent authorities for minors.

The revised law provides another exemption to the city’s current curfew law, which now has four exemptions.

The law exempts teenagers from the curfew if they are “exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly”; to or from a job or professional activity; being involved in an emergency; or run errands under the direction of a parent or guardian.

Teenagers are now exempt from the curfew “attending, or returning home immediately after, a ticketed or sponsored event and have documentary evidence of their attendance at such an event, for example, a ticket stub or wristband with the name of the event pre-printed above” of the curfew.

This would apparently allow teenagers to attend Lollapalooza, which is scheduled to take place July 28-31 in Grant Park, and other summer festivals and concerts.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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