Chicago curfew for minors goes into effect; ACLU pushes back

Some say downtown violence solutions should include community, not just police

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Chicago, Millennium Park curfew changes go into effect
Changes to the Chicago curfew ordinance go into effect Wednesday, and activists disagree with the mayor's approach.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are new rules for minors to follow Wednesday morning in Chicago.

Public spaces are now off-limits at 10 p.m. per Mayor Lori Lightfoot's executive order.

The executive order caught many by surprise. It was just this past Monday, the mayor said the citywide curfew would only be moved up on weekends.

SEE MORE: Mom of teen fatally shot at 'Bean' says he worried about living past 21

Seandell Holliday, the 16-year-old shot and killed at "the Bean" in Millennium Park, worried about living past his 21st birthday, his mother said.

What came out Tuesday was quite different, however.

The new rule for minors 12 years of age or older prohibits them from remaining in any public place or on the premises of any establishment between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., seven days of the week.

The order said in part that, "an increase in the number and seriousness of violent and property crimes committed by minors within the City has created an emergency."

SEE MORE: Teen charged after boy killed near Millennium Park 'Bean;' Mayor Lightfoot enacts weekend curfew

The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has loudly spoken out against both the new restrictions imposed on Millennium Park and the curfew, saying there is no evidence to support the claim curfews cut down on crime, and that, just like in the past, this will be applied disproportionately on Black teens.

"This is targeted at the very people who don't have places to go in their own community," said Ed Yohnka, director of communications and policy for ACLU Illinois. "This will be applied to people who have always been the subject of police targeting. And that's just the wrong way to go about this."

The executive order tasks the Chicago Police Department with the immediate enforcement of the curfew. Although, just like with the new restrictions on Millennium Park, it's not clear what that enforcement will look like, with the mayor repeatedly saying this week this is about educating both teens and parents on the rules, and not about effecting mass arrests of teenagers.

Full Statement from ACLU on Lightfoot's curfew

"We are disappointed that the City responded to our request earlier today for more information by issuing an executive order lacking in so many ways. To begin, the Mayor calls it an emergency that young people are gathering in Millennium Park - while crowds have gathered in many other parts of the City for years with no such designation. She suggests that a curfew will reduce crime, despite ample evidence (clearly articulated in this morning's Chicago Sun Times) that curfews do not reduce crime. Her fiat further changes the age of those subject to the City's curfew ordinance (from 16 to 18) and would permit the indefinite detention of those caught in violation of her order until an eligible adult arrives. Finally, the order singles out as an exception ticketed events, suggesting that the curfew will target disadvantaged youth in our City who are unable to purchase a ticket to a costly event. Given the disproportionate application of the curfew restrictions after George Floyd's murder, this is a real concern.

"We asked the Mayor and City to explain how this ordinance would be implemented. This approach doesn't solve a problem - it further damages relations between young people and the community. The Mayor is headed in the wrong direction and must abandon this path as soon as possible."