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New curfew for Millennium Park now in effect for kids under 18

New curfew rule now in effect at Millennium Park
New curfew rule now in effect at Millennium Park 02:39

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago's new restrictions for Millennium Park went into effect Thursday evening. 

Beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, kids under 18 years of age now need to be with an adult age 21 or older in order to stay in the park.

As CBS 2's Marissa Perlman reported, the first night of the curfew at Millennium Park was quiet. But it still looked different – with tight security and armed guards serving as a reminder of what activists say is work that needs to be done in the city.

Chicago Police officers, hired private armed security, and Millennium Park guards were all on patrol Thursday evening. And as the clock struck 6 p.m., a new normal began at one of Chicago's most iconic gathering spots.

That new normal includes everyone getting their bags searched and being wanded down before entering the park, which was already done for events.

One adult can chaperone up to four kids.  

The goal is to stop chaotic scenes similar to the one last Saturday in which a 16-year-old boy named Seandell Holliday of a killed and two other men shot and wounded.

The mayhem began after police cleared the park and pushed the young crowd into and through the downtown area.

In announcing it earlier this week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the curfew a move she has to make.

"I want to be clear it gives me no pleasure to impose these rules and restrictions but having exhausted every other opportunity. Every other tool and remedy, we've got to go to this next step," she said.

The rules updated on the Millennium Park website says: 

"Effective immediately, guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult (21 years and older) after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday — and may be asked to present a valid ID. The adult must be present for the duration of the visit and may escort up to four young people."

It's not clear how the new millennium park rule will be enforced. But Mayor Lightfoot did say the city is working with Chicago Public Schools to make sure both kids and their parents are aware of the change.

Two people we met Thursday afternoon said they support the controversial curfew.

"I think the curfew rule is, I'm going to say, necessary at the moment – because, you know, when you get too much freedom at a young age, you want to know how to really control it – so I feel like it could be necessary just to prevent chaos," said Lashaun Spain.

"I think it's necessary, because kids nowadays don't know how to control themselves," said Tony Duprey.

But in the long run, Duprey has his doubts about whether the curfew will work.

"I don't think so," Duprey said, "because you know how minors are. They sneak out, sneak in. They're probably going to find another way to get in here."

The American Civil Liberties Union does not support the curfew, and says the mayor does not have the authority to enact such rules. The ACLU also says without clear enforcement guidelines, it could lead to racially-biased policing.

But anti-violence activists say it is a step in the right direction.

"What else can you really do? You have young people coming downtown, and big groups of people all the time - and you never know what might happen," said Tio Hardiman, executive director for Violence Interrupters. "They should be accompanied by an adult. That's all the mayor said. They can come down here, but they should have an adult with them."

The mayor also plans to change the current city-wide Friday and Saturday night curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- but it turns out, she can't just do that with simply an executive order.

The City Council's Public Safety Committee will consider the change during a meeting Friday morning.

Civil rights groups have blasted the mayor's executive order as a "power grab."

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