Chicago City Council committee approves ordinance on changes to curfew for minors

Millennium Park restrictions for minors also in effect

Friday, May 20, 2022
City Council approves mayor's cufew change, but with sharp criticism
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The Chicago CIty Council approved Mayor Lightfoot's revised ciywide curfew, but not without sharp criticism just hours after nine people were shot on the Near North Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan to extent the citywide curfew for minors was approved by the Chicago City Council's Public Safety Committee Friday, but not without some sharp criticism.

Earlier this week, Mayor Lightfoot issued an executive order to change the curfew for minors, moving it from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Chicago curfew for minors goes into effect; ACLU pushes back

The mayor's curfew for minors 12 years of age and older prohibits them from remaining in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the city between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on all seven days of the week.

"This isn't even a slap on the wrist, we're turning Chicago police into taxi drivers, possibly, to take these kids home, taking manpower off the streets," said Alderman Anthony Napolitano.

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"There's actually significant empirical evidence that states lowering curfew times actually has the opposite effect of decreasing crime," said Alderman Michael Rodriguez.

The mayor defended her plan, saying police are not going to be locking up mass numbers of young people.

The vote came on the heels of a mass shooting on the Near North Side that killed two people and injured seven more, which itself happened less than a week after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near the "Bean" sculpture in Millennium Park.

"Teenagers have been fussing and fighting probably since the beginning of time, the difference now is too many of them have guns and that's exactly what happened," Lightfoot said at a Friday afternoon press conference.

But as she battles growing concerns people have about safety, Lightfoot said she is not considering calling in the National Guard.

"That's not what we need at this moment," the mayor said, pointing out the guard is trained to offer military responses to situations. "We don't need more gunfire, we certainly don't need our residents being subjected to a military force on our streets."

The mayor said the city will be working hard to get out the message about the curfew, hoping compliance might reduce some of the violence.

There could be challenges contending the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional.

"Most courts who have weighed in on curfews have concluded that they are constitutional and this is based on a long existing ordinance in Chicago relating to curfew, so I suspect it would withstand any challenge the constitutionality," Gill Soffer, ABC7 Legal Analyst, said.

Millennium Park restrictions issued by Mayor Lightfoot take effect

The mayor also imposed new restrictions at Millennium Park, which started Thursday night.

From Thursday through Sunday, unaccompanied minors are not allowed in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. unless they're with at least one responsible adult.