Lightfoot’s Millennium Park curfew for unaccompanied minors goes into effect Thursday. How will it be applied? – NBC Chicago

Starting Thursday at 6 p.m., one of Chicago’s most iconic gathering spots will be off-limits to unaccompanied minors as a controversial new youth curfew goes into effect.

According to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, no unaccompanied minors will be allowed in Millennium Park after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Anyone under the age of 18 is “welcome to the park during the evening hours as long as they are accompanied by at least one responsible adult,” a press release from Lightfoot’s office reads.

The move comes after an altercation in the park around 7.30pm on Saturday night ended in the shooting death of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday near “The Bean”.

Marion Richardson, 17, faces charges of second degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm in connection with Holliday’s death. Richardson is charged as an adult in the case.

Lightfoot defended his decision at a press conference earlier this week, saying, “We’re in crisis. We have to step up. That’s what leadership is doing and that’s what I did.”

But the curfew has a week-long debate over who should be allowed in Millennium Park and why.

“Curfews have never been shown to reduce crime,” Alexandra Block, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said in an interview with NBC 5. ‘they were reducing the violence.’

Earlier this week, the ACLU of Illinois released a statement saying “the promise of strict enforcement will lead to unnecessary stops and arrests and further tension between the CPD and young people of color.”

Lamar Johnson, violence prevention coordinator at St. Sabina expressed similar concerns.

“If they can’t come to Millennium Park at a certain time, where can they go?” Johnson said. “I don’t think the mayor and the city have really thought about that.”

Several groups have lobbied for clarity on curfew rules and how the app will work. Here’s what we know so far.

Millennium Park Curfew Details

When the curfew is in effect: Thursday to Sunday, from 6 p.m.

To whom the curfew applies: “All unaccompanied minors” under the age of 18, whether visitors or residents.

Anyone under the age of 18 is “welcome to the park during the evening hours as long as they are accompanied by at least one responsible adult,” a press release from Lightfoot’s office reads.

How the curfew will be enforced: According to a press release from Lightfoot’s office, the new curfew for unaccompanied minors at Millennium Park “will be strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with promptly.”

“I also call on the Chicago Police Department,” the statement continued, “to work with our federal partners to expedite firearms traces for all firearms found in the hands of minors and to promptly engage criminal prosecution of any adult who provides a firearm to a person under the age of 18.”

At a Monday news conference about the new rule, Lightfoot said “Chicago police will exhaust all other efforts before taking enforcement action to ensure young people are safe.”

“No, we don’t want to arrest kids,” Lightfoot said. “If we have to do it because they’re breaking the law, we’ll do it. But what we’ve seen in other areas of the city, when issues have arisen, is our officers talking to young people, the educate about the rules and in most cases the youngsters disperse without incident which is what we hope will happen.

In an interview with NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern, Light said private security would be on the front line enforcing the new restrictions at Millennium Park.

“They’re going to be the people on the front lines,” she said. “Obviously, there are officers who are already assigned to 1st and 18and districts if there is a need for their services (also).

The ACLU of Illinois says it sent a letter to the mayor’s office on Wednesday seeking clarity.

“There’s just a lot of vagueness about how this is going to be enforced, how officers determine someone’s age. What does it mean that children have to be accompanied by a ‘responsible adult’? “Block said.

Chicago citywide curfew for teens 16 and under

In addition to Millennium Park’s new curfew, Lightfoot said Monday that since 1992, a citywide 11 p.m. weekend curfew for teenagers 16 and under has been in place.

That curfew will now begin at 10 p.m. and apply to weekdays in addition to weekends, according to an executive order signed by the mayor.