City Council tabled the stricter curfew bill Thursday as pressure from opposition groups, including members of Occupy Philly, filled Council chambers.
“We are worried that the policy will be disproportionately enforced in neighborhoods dominated by the poor and minorities,” said Kadijah White, who identified herself as a member of the movement.
Other concerns raised included the cost of curfew enforcement, its constitutional legality and research studies showing that curfews do not impact juvenile delinquency.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced the bill on behalf of the Nutter administration, admitted that it required a delicate hand. “It’s a law where the lines are fragile,” she said. “We have to balance protecting the constitutional rights of citizens and putting measures in place to prevent violent attacks.”
“We have mixed reviews about research,” she added. “Two members of the police force got reports where the number of flash mobs has dropped dramatically because of the new curfew law.”
Occupy Philly showed an undeniable presence during public testimony, holding up anti-curfew signs and cheering.
“There is a strong likelihood that this amount of people would not be here to oppose the bill if City Hall’s municipal space was not occupied,” said Councilman Darrell Clarke. “But it’s America. People have the right to voice their opinions.”
Jones meets OP
Councilman Curtis Jones met with Occupy Philly members after Thursday’s Council session and
discussed their concerns.
“I think it’s tremendous,” Jones said of the movement. “This is the birthplace of democracy. We don’t have to always agree, but we do have to communicate.”
Jones also spoke out in support of Occupy Philly during Council. “We are in agreement with many more things than we are divided on,” he said. “None of us in this chambers are in the 1 percent. All of us are in the 99 percent.”
“It seems that he’s supportive of our points, but not of what we believe is an added harassment of young people,” Kadijah White said after talking to Jones. “He’s against the criminalization of youth, but he still wants the curfew.”