CITY HALL — Following another violent weekend that saw a 16-year-old shot dead in Millennium Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced she’s moving the weekend curfew for minors up an hour to 10 p.m.
The weekend curfew has long been 11 p.m., but Lightfoot said she will sign an executive order to move it to 10 p.m. Lightfoot has also banned youth from Millennium Park on weekend nights following violence there.
“I’m urging parents, guardians and responsible adults in the lives of children to make sure you know what the rules are,” the mayor said at a Monday morning news conference.
Lightfoot said the city will partner with the school system to publicize the new policy, and police will “exhaust all other options before they take law enforcement action” with the new curfew.
“We will continue to encourage parents and guardians to further ensure their children are conducting themselves appropriately and safety at all times,” she said.
The earlier curfew comes on the heels of a new ban on unaccompanied minors in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
Children are still allowed if they are with a “responsible” adult, and the policy will be “strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with swiftly,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
The ACLU quickly criticized the ban, saying it limits the park’s availability.
“The mayor’s announcement suggests that our city’s showcase park should not be available for all residents of Chicago,” Ed Yohnka, ACLU of Illinois director of Communications and Public Policy, said in a statement to WTTW. “Curfews and bans create group culpability for all young people — whether they are there to enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown or something else.
“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.”
The ban came just a day after Seandell Holliday, 16, was shot dead at The Bean during a night that saw large groups of young people gathering Downtown.
The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the 200 block of East Randolph Street, police said. Holliday was shot in his chest and taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A 17-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection to the shooting, police said. The teen was arrested “moments” after he shot Holliday, police said. He was scheduled to appear in juvenile court Monday.
“Tragically, a young person — a teenager — lost his life last night in Millennium Park,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We, as a city, can not allow any of our public spaces to become platforms for danger. Anyone coming into our public spaces should expect to enjoy them peacefully and must respect and exhibit basic community norms of decency. We simply will not accept anything less.”
Overall, officers arrested 26 juveniles and four adults during that night, police said. Seven guns were found, and two officers were injured, police said.
Lightfoot said she thinks the “overwhelming majority” of the young people who were at the park were there for a “good time and [to] enjoy a summer evening,” but the “scene devolved into one of chaos and unnecessary violence.”
The mayor said the ban is in effect immediately. She did not say when it could end, nor has the city explained what consequences people will face for not following the ban.
Lightfoot said the city will partner with local school systems to educate youth about the policy.
“As a city, we must ensure that our young people have safe spaces to congregate and that in those spaces they are peaceful and actually safe,” Lightfoot said. “I am calling on all parents, guardians, and caring adults to step up at this moment and do whatever it takes to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again and to encourage appropriate behavior when our young people gather anywhere in this great city of ours.”
The Downtown area and beaches have for years seen large groups of youth getting together periodically the spring and summer. Last week, a gathering at North Avenue Beach attracted more than 400 young people. Such events have led to concern about safety from some officials.
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