Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot's Millennium Park Curfew for Unaccompanied Minors Begins Thursday

A new curfew imposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot earlier this week will officially go into effect Thursday: It says that no unaccompanied minors will be allowed in Millennium Park after 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Lightfoot this week also moved a longstanding weekend citywide curfew for teens from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The moves follow a string of large, chaotic gatherings of young people downtown and a violent weekend that ended with a fatal shooting of a 16-year-old in Millennium Park near "The Bean."

Here's what the details of each curfew are and how Lightfoot says they'll be enforced.

Chicago's Citywide Curfew for Teens 16 and Under

Lightfoot on Monday said that since 1992, a citywide, 11 p.m. weekend curfew for teens 16-years-old and under has been in place.

That curfew will now start at 10 p.m., according to an executive order signed by the Mayor.

Millennium Park Weekend Curfew For Unaccompanied Minors Under 18

According to a press release from Lightfoot's office, Millennium Park now has a 6 p.m. curfew Thursday through Sunday for "all unaccompanied minors" under the age of 18, whether they are visitors or residents.

Anyone under the age of 18 is "welcome at the Park during the evening hours as long as they are accompanied by at least one responsible adult," the release says.

How Will the New Millennium Park Curfew 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 swiftly."

"I am also calling upon the Chicago Police Department," the release continued, "to work with our federal partners to accelerate gun traces for all firearms found in the hands of minors and to swiftly bring criminal charges against any adult who has provided a firearm to a person under the age of 18."

During a press conference Monday discussing the new rule, Lightfoot said" the Chicago Police will exhaust all other efforts before they take law enforcement actions to make sure that young people are safe."

"No, we don't want to arrest children," Lightfoot said. "If we have to because they're breaking the law, we will. But what we've seen in other areas of the city, when issues have arisen, is our officers talk to the young people, educate them about what the rules are and in most instances, the young people disperse without any incident. That's what we're hoping will happen."

In an interview with NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern, Lightfoot said private security will be first in line to enforce the new restrictions at Millennium Park.

“They’re going to be the folks on the front line,” she said. “Obviously, there are officers that are already assigned to the 1st and 18th districts if there is a need for their services (as well).”

What Local Officials and Community Groups Have Said

The announcement has drawn both support and criticism from local groups, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

“This is gonna stereotype every young person in downtown,” said Baltazar Enriquez, president of the community-based organization Little Village Community Council.

“Especially our youth in Little Village who are going to work. There are jobs and activities downtown…and now they’re limited.”

The Chicago Teachers Union also criticized the move, saying "the mayor needs to be doing more to address violence in schools, mental health needs and entrenched disinvestment, instead of knee jerk curfews and bans on the use of public spaces," which they say continues "the cycle of slamming doors in the faces of young people who have had doors closed on them for their entire lives."

Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois stated "the promise of strict enforcement will result in unnecessary stop and arrests and further strain relations between CPD and young people of color."

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