Detroit police proposing extended curfew during Ford Fireworks

Detroit police are proposing an expanded curfew for the Ford Fireworks this summer.

In the past, the curfew has been only on the night of the event. The event this year is on Monday, June 22. The proposed extended curfew would be enacted from June 19-22 between the times of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Anyone under the age of 17 would be prohibited to be outside without a parent during those times. 

For the proposal to pass, the city council will need to sign off. That could happen June 16.

In years past, the curfew, which was meant to curb incidents of crime at the fireworks, has drawn criticism of race and constitutionality. 

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue, saying a longer curfew is not constitutional. Others against the proposal argue no such curfew is enacted for other events downtown, such as the Downtown Hoedown or the Movement Electronic Music Festival.

Detroit councilwoman Raquel Casteneda-Lopez believes the curfew criminalizes kids who haven't done anything wrong. Last year more than 150 kids were detained for breaking the one-day curfew, and their parents were fined $50.

"I'm a big advocate of making sure that people are able to use public spaces and attend public events. I think that's a key component to making sure people feel safe and building a sense of community," Casteneda-Lopez says.

Last year, the ACLU sent a letter to Detroit officials saying the curfew violates the rights of young people and their parents.

Michael J. Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, sent a scathing letter to Detroit officials before the 2014 fireworks.

"It is ironic and unsettling that on the day set aside to celebrate the freedoms of our country, the City of Detroit effectively makes thousands of young people prisoners in their own homes," Steinberg wrote. "While the city has a legitimate interest in addressing potential problems at the fireworks celebration on the river, it cannot do so by relying on hurtful stereotypes or by criminalizing the innocent activities of young people throughout the entire city."

A public hearing will happen June 10, in which the public will be able to speak up and ask questions.

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