Downtown shooting, large teen gatherings prompt Mayor Lightfoot to enforce teen curfew



A group of Chicago Police Department officers circle together at Millennium Park during the period of the park’s heightened security last May.

Close to one year ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot implemented a controversial curfew for minors visiting Millennium Park. About a year later, the curfew is back along with expected bag checks at Chicago’s beaches, according to police. 

The rule bans all minors unaccompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age, from entering Millennium Park after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. This rule came after the fatal shooting of a Chicago teen last May.

The Millennium Park restrictions were accompanied by the mayor’s decision to change the citywide curfew for minors from 11 to 10 p.m..

“Additional security measures such as bag checks at beach entry points and the curfew for minors at Millennium Park will also be in place. CPD is also working closely with youth and outreach workers for when these gatherings occur,” police said in a statement released Monday night. 

This announcement came shortly after hundreds of young people gathered downtown Saturday night, where videos circulating social media platforms show people jumping on cars, fighting and running across the street. Videos also show a similar incident Friday night near 31st Street Beach, where a 14-year-old boy was shot, NBC 5 Chicago reports

The events on Saturday night resulted in two teens being shot near Millennium Park and 15 arrested in connection with the downtown gathering, police said. Of the arrests, nine were adults and six were juveniles.

While police officials said most of the charges were for reckless conduct, two people were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and a 16-year-old male was charged with unlawful use of a weapon following the recovery of a firearm, police said. 

CPD said they plan on working closely with youth outreach programs following the downtown disturbances Saturday night to ensure all gatherings by the city’s youth are conducted as safely as possible. 

“We strongly encourage parents to accompany their teens or have them remain under the supervision of a responsible adult. We will continue working alongside our community organizations and leaders to provide safe spaces and alternatives for our youth across the city,” police officials said in the statement. 

Both Mayor Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson issued statements following the large downtown gathering. 

Johnson’s statement did not condone the violent behavior that occurred this past weekend, however, he urged the city not to demonize Chicago’s youth.

“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend,” Johnson’s statement posted on his social media read. “It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”

In Lightfoot’s statement, she urged parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts and to hold them responsible for their actions. 

“As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home.”