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Despite Jeers, Philadelphia Lawmakers Approve Stricter Curfew Law

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia City Council has approved revisions to the city's curfew law, changes requested by the mayor in the wake of last summer's flash mob attacks.

Today's vote came after nearly two dozen speeches from citizens opposed to the curfew.

Shouting "shame" at councilmembers, opponents blasted Mayor Nutter for a curfew that they believe does little to solve the problem of flash mobs and that will, in their view, only encourage police harassment of minorities.

"The kids are not the problem," said Khadijah White, addressing the Council.  "The problem is that the city seems to be generous only with punishment and criticism when it comes to Philadelphia's youth."
Undeterred, Council members approved the curfew revisions by a 16-1 vote.

After the speeches, the sponsor of the bill, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, thanked the opponents for raising issues and she vowed to monitor the new curfew:

"We're going to be paying close attention.  In fact, I will be asking for reports myself from the appropriate personnel, to see how its working."

Mayor Nutter said the curfew is needed and effective:

"There comes a point, whether in the neighborhood or anywhere else, where they basically should either be home or in the care and custody of their parent or guardian."

And Nutter says this bill merely clarifies a curfew that's been on the books in some fashion since the 1950s.

The revisions would create three tiers of curfew hours, depending on the age of the teen.  All would face a curfew one or two hours earlier than the current law.  In fact, children 13 and under would have to be in by 8pm during the school year.  The hours would be uniform across all seven days; the current law includes later weekend hours.  The curfew would be relaxed slightly in the summer.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn

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