Detroit City Council rejects River Days 3-day curfew

Detroit police proposed expanding the curfew leading up to the Detroit fireworks display - but the move ignited sparks at City Hall.

Teens, activists and city officials came out in droves to speak out against it Tuesday night. 

In the end a one-day curfew was approved for those 17 and under without a responsible adult supervising them for Monday's fireworks show on June 21. 

For the rest of River Days starting Friday, June 19-20, the regular Detroit curfew of 10 p.m. will be enforced.

"The tool and strategy of curfew does work," said Police Chief James Craig to the council earlier on Tuesday.

Craig urged the council to vote in favor of a 6 p.m. curfew, that would ban kids 17 and under from being downtown for the three-day period of River Days and fireworks festivities without an adult.

But he couldn't convince a majority of the members and community activists at the meeting who felt it was unfair and uninviting - and a violation of a person's constitutional rights.

"At the Hoe Down a bad situation can occur," said Brenda Jones, council president during the meeting. "At a concert a bad situation can occur, at hockey games a bad situation can occur."

"Anytime you have urban apartheid, black children primarily who can't come into a certain area, you have a quarantine, that's odious, that's despicable," said Ron Scott of the Coalition Against Police Brutality. 

In the end a bit of a compromise was hatched. While the council voted down the proposal expanding a curfew during River Days, they did support an 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. curfew in the downtown area during Monday's fireworks show. 

This is similar to what's been in place in the past and members of the council says it seemed to work.

"Because the data was there, that's what I based my decision on," said councilwoman Janee Ayers. "Not personal feelings but strictly data. Because that has to make sense."

"For three days during River Days to lock the city down for having 150,000 people downtown, to me, didn't feel right," said councilman Gabe Leland. "Let's get young people involved."

Craig says he still expects the weekend events to go smoothly but there will be plenty of police presence and a plan in case it doesn't.

"We should not forget not in the too-recent past, of some of the things that have happened," Craig said. "Not to indict one group but we have to be sensitive about things. It's no secret  why so many cities have curfews in place."
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