Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced an executive order Monday that imposes a 10 p.m. weekend curfew for minors following another round of violence in the city.
Lightfoot made the announcement following the death of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed in Millennium Park on Saturday night. The mayor previously put in place a ban that stated no minors would be allowed in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. on weekends unless they were with an adult, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Anyone coming into our public spaces should be able to enjoy them safely,” she said. “Young people are absolutely welcome downtown but in the evening hours they must be accompanied by a responsible adult.” (RELATED: Officers Trying To Perform Life-Saving Measures On Gunshot Victims Met By ‘Hostile Crowd,’ Police Say)
The mayor pointed out that a curfew for minors was not new and she was simply moving it back one hour, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We need to make sure they are safe and importantly that our young people understand and respect basic community norms, respect for themselves, respect for each other, and we must ensure that everyone of our residents and visitors no matter who they are, where they come from… are able to enjoy our public spaces,” Lightfoot said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: “Right now, in Chicago, the curfew for young people is 11 p.m. on the weekends … Today, I’m signing an executive order to move that curfew back on weekends to 10 p.m.” pic.twitter.com/0CaTkdGxOT
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) May 16, 2022
Although the mayor refused to directly answer how the Millineum Park curfew would be enforced, the mayor announced in a statement that the ban “will be strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with swiftly,” according to NBC Chicago.
“Our goal here is to educate people into compliance,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Our goal is not to bring down heavy hammer penalties on kids or their parents.”
“My interest is not rounding up young people and throwing them in the back of the wagon. That’s not what this could or should be about,” she added. “We don’t want to arrest children, if we have to because they’re breaking the law, we will.”
The announcement of the curfew has run into some criticism including fierce opposition from the ACLU of Illinois which released a scalding statement on Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“The vague description — relying on an undefined ‘responsible adult’ — allowing young people to be present in the park and the promise of strict enforcement will result in unnecessary stops and arrests and further strain relations between CPD and young people of color. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.”
Lightfoot responded to the criticism by saying that although she respects the ACLU, doing nothing was not an option, according to the Chicago Tribune. (RELATED: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Issues ‘Call To Arms’ Against The Supreme Court)
“I have a lot of respect for the ACLU but here on Planet Earth, in reality, we have a crisis in our city and we have to take action,” Lightfoot said. “Doing nothing is simply not an option. I will listen, I will engage with them, but … I think the modest, very surgically narrowly defined actions that we’re taking make sense in this moment.”
In April, amidst a spike in crime, several neighborhoods on the North Side of Chicago began hiring private security for protection, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The murder rate rose 55% in Chicago in 2020 with an increase of another 3% in 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal.