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Attorney On City Curfew: This Is House-Arrest For Tens Of Thousands Of Detroiters

DETROIT (WWJ) - An ordinance will be reviewed by Detroit City Council Wednesday concerning an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for teens under 18 in the downtown area during the four days of the River Days Festival.

During the night of the fireworks display, a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. will be enforced city-wide.

Teens who do go out during that time have to either be accompanied by an adult or have written permission from a parent.

Attorney Bill Goodman with the ACLU says the curfew needs to be less restrictive.

"This is not Baltimore, this is not Ferguson, Missouri," said Goodman. "There are no claims of rioting going on here - they are simply teenagers trying to enjoy a summer evening like everyone else, and that's not right. The government should not operate in that way - there is no immediate or pending crisis," said Goodman.

"This is essentially 'house arrest' for tens of thousands of Detroiters and we feel that it's unreasonable and violates the constitution."

Among the problems, says Goodman, is that not everyone receives notice of the curfew.

"Not all families get notice of them, not all families are told 'you better give your kid a note' or that kid better have, if that kid is 18 and looks 17, they better have photo ID on them," said Goodman. "These are all reasons people are going to get arrested - it doesn't mean there's an underlying problem - it means that law enforcement is creating a problem."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig is defending his department's request to extend a citywide curfew for kids ahead of the upcoming River Days festival and fireworks downtown.

"We have information, intelligence if you will, that there could be some problems," said Craig. "We are about the business of safety to everyone in our community - whether they live in the city or outside the city - we just want to make sure everyone is safe."

Craig told WWJ that there is no hidden agenda - the police just want the public to be safe.

"We are just replicating what we did last year, no change. Unaccompanied minors are the ones that will be the focus of the violation, we just want parents and guardians to bring their young people down and enjoy the fireworks."

Detroit City Council was originally considering the request and plans a public hearing on the matter during a Wednesday meeting but have postponed the hearing until Tuesday, June 16.

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