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Final vote delayed for Mayor Lightfoot's new citywide curfew for teens

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Aldermen on Monday delayed a final vote on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan to roll back the citywide curfew for minors from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

During Monday's City Council meeting, Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) moved to defer a final vote on the mayor's proposal at least until the next meeting, and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) already has filed notice with the City Clerk of his intent to call the proposal for a vote by the full council on Wednesday.

The City Council Public Safety Committee, which Taliaferro chairs, voted 14-3 on Friday to approve the one hour rollback of the curfew hours on weekends, as well as to expand the city's curfew to include 17-year-olds. As it stands, the city's curfew hours currently apply only to those under age 17.

The existing curfew ordinance includes exemptions for minors out after curfew:

  • if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian;
  • if they are running an errand for a parent or guardian;
  • if they are in a vehicle involved in interstate travel;
  • if they at work or going to or from work;
  • if they are on the sidewalk outside their home or a next-door neighbor's home;
  • if they are attending a school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults;
  • if it's an emergency
  • or if they're exercising First Amendment rights, such as attending a protest.

The mayor's update to the curfew ordinance would add an exemption for youths attending "ticketed or sponsored events" if they can provide proof such as a ticket stub or wristband.

The curfew ordinance does not authorize police to arrest minors who are violating the curfew. Rather, police may take "protective custody" of them until a parent, guardian, or other responsible adult can be located.

Police Supt. David Brown said officers regularly enforce curfew violations by simply taking kids home, or calling their parents to pick them up.

"They call their mom, they come pick up, or they get on the CTA, and take a ride home. So that's really what we hope this tool will do. Not cause us to create large arrests of young people downtown. It's to ensure compliance, and to ensure that parents know the curfew is at 10 p.m. seven days a week," Brown said ant an unrelated news conference.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also brushed off complaints from critics who expressed fears the city would be redeploying officers currently stationed at districts in the city's neighborhoods, to step up curfew enforcement downtown.

"Our officers are, on a regular basis, enforcing curfew in every district in our city. So that's also nonsense," she said.

The mayor said the city already enforces the curfew ordinance throughout the entire city, and won't be changing deployment of officers to enforce the changes she's seeking.

The committee's vote sets up a debate by the full City Council next week, when the council will meet both Monday and Wednesday.

Lightfoot originally sought to change t with an executive order -- but it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the City Council.

Meantime, a new curfew at Millennium Park went into effect Thursday night. Kids under 18 will have to be accompanied by an adult to be in the park after 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

The mayor put the rule into place after a teen was shot and killed last weekend when a fight broke out right by the Bean. 

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