Mayor Lightfoot announces changes to citywide curfew, Millennium Park restrictions after shooting

Teen killed in shooting near 'The Bean' ID'd as Seandell Holliday

ByMichelle Gallardo and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Earlier citywide curfew announced after Millennium Park shooting
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions for minors in Millennium Park as well as an earlier citywide curfew.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Chicago officials and community leaders Monday morning to outline changes to the city's curfew as well as adding a new curfew at Millennium Park for unaccompanied minors.

Mayor Lightfoot announces citywide curfew changes

In response to a fatal shooting in Millennium Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced changes to the city's curfew for minors.

As of this week, unaccompanied minors will not be allowed into Millennium Park from Thursday to Sunday after 6 p.m. The new rules will go into effect Thursday and signage will be posted throughout the park, Lightfoot said.

SEE ALSO | Teen given $250K bond for murder of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday at Millennium Park 'Bean'

In addition to the new restrictions on Millennium Park access, Lightfoot also announced a change in the weekend curfew for minors, moving it down from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. as of Monday.

"We have a crisis in our city," Lightfoot said. "We need to take action. Doing nothing is simply not an option."

The policy, which was announced Sunday, is what the city calls a change in the time, place and manner rules that apply to Millennium Park.

Officials hope the new rules will deter the kinds of chaos that erupted here on Saturday, leading to the shooting death of 16-year-old Seandell Holiday.

It was also the second time in three weeks that crowds of unruly teenagers took over the park and the area surrounding it, jumping on cars and getting into fights.

But despite promises Sunday that these rules will be strictly enforced, Lightfoot seemed to back away from that Monday, saying she hopes teenagers will comply with the new policy voluntarily.

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Officials are now investigating what they call "ghost" social media accounts that are allegedly convening the teenagers downtown. They are calling on other teens to share what they know before things get out of hand.

"It is our young people who know what's going on," said Jadine Chao, head of security for Chicago Public Schools. "This is not the first weekend we have seen things kick off after a bunch of young people have come downtown."

But the new policy is already attracting criticism from the ACLU, which questioned the legal authority to impose such restrictions on the city's public spaces.

"What guardrails do they have in place to ensure that it's not just Black and brown young people that are going to be stopped and harassed by police in the course of this enforcement?" said Alexandra Block, with ACLU of Illinois.

Chicago announces new Millennium Park curfew after deadly shooting

Chicago announced a new Millennium Park curfew for unaccompanied minors after a deadly shooting.

People at Millennium Park on Monday echoed some of those concerns.

"There could still be a way for kids to have fun and be cautious at the same time, instead of a black or white, all or nothing," Chicago resident Sandra Contreras said.

Lightfoot, however, insisted that targeting children for arrest is not the intent. She is calling on parents to play their part as well.

"No matter the destination. It's not just because it's downtown. Our children need to be accompanied by adults, period," Lightfoot said. "My interest is not rounding up young people and throwing them in the back of a wagon. That is not what this can or should be about. This is about enforcing community norms."

Lightfoot said she was "distressed" to learn of preteens as young as 10 and 11 years old coming downtown unaccompanied at night.

She said she understands teens need safe places and pointed to activities available

Superintendent David Brown Sunday said the police department's priority right now is making Millennium Park safe, but admitted that there is a possibility of displacement to other downtown locations.

A few hours after the Millennium Park shooting, two other young people were shot near State Street and Jackson Boulevard.

Mayor Lightfoot also said Monday she directed the Chicago Police Department to accelerate gun traces for firearms found in the hands of minors.

Twenty six minors and four adults were also arrested in connection with Saturday's incident. Seven guns were recovered.

City curfew doesn't address root causes of violence, some say

Those who work with young people in Chicago say teens don't need more judgement, they need help.

Those who work with young people in Chicago say they don't want to see what happened over the weekend in downtown repeated. They say the young people don't need more judgement, they need help.

Diane Latiker has been working with young people in Chicago for nearly two decades trying to keep them on the right track through her organization Kids Off the Block. Latiker described what happened downtown over the weekend involving young people as "discouraging."

"I can see young people being rowdy, but when it leads to violence and death, it keeps you up at night," Latiker said.

She says the pandemic has taken a toll on teenagers.

Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off the Block, talks about how we all have a role to play in guiding Chicago's youth away from violence.

"They are crying out for attention because they have been locked down for two years," Latiker said. "It's driving adults crazy that we have been locked down for two years."

Community leaders say the youth come from neighborhoods that have been suffering for decades.

"They are missing that involvement from a parent," said DeKevious Wilson, the regional manager for Youth Guidance's Becoming a Man program. "And that could be due to their parents working two to three shifts. And it's not that the parent doesn't want to be there, but their parents have responsibilities to keeping the lights on."

Community psychologist Dr. Obari Cartman meets weekly with a group of young men. He said the city's move to change the curfew for minors to 10 p.m. doesn't do enough.

"It is a serious crisis. It's a big problem," Cartman said. "I believe the solution to big problems cannot always just be the quickest, easiest solution. More cops is not always the best thing."

Those who work with young people are calling for wrap around services to support the teens and their families

"It really takes a village to create a productive human being," Wilson said.