Bridgeport council passes youth curfew

Bridgeport (AP) — Bridgeport's city council has passed a curfew designed to keep kids off city streets after 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends.

The ordinance, approved Thursday night, bars anyone under 18 from being out on the street without a parent or guardian between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and between midnight and 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Parents of those found in violation of the curfew can be fined between $25 and $90.

Mayor Bill Fitch said he plans to sign the ordinance on Monday.

"This isn't going to be the silver bullet," Finch told The Connecticut Post. "But, it's another arrow in the quiver of our police department and that's a good thing."

The curfew ordinance was first proposed in January, in response to the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy, Justin Thompson, after a party.

David McGuire, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said in a prepared statement that his group opposes the curfew and will try to help residents who think it's unfair.

"This curfew looks like the easy way out politically, but it's a huge mistake," McGuire said. "It criminalizes innocent behavior and fails to address the real problem of violent crime."

In 2003, a federal court overturned a similar curfew in Vernon after the ACLU filed a lawsuit claiming it violated the rights of youth there.

"We don't know if it's going to stand up in court," Finch said of the ordinance. "There are people who aren't from Bridgeport who are more concerned about more esoteric things than the safety of our children."

The council plans to review the effectiveness of the curfew after six months.

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