Late this afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an executive order changing Chicago’s curfew laws without input or a vote in City Council. The following response can be attributed to Alexandra Block, senior supervising attorney for Criminal Legal System and Policing Reform:
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.