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After night of violence, Chicago mayor bans unaccompanied minors from Millennium Park after 6pm

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After a deadly night near Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate, affectionately known as the “Bean,” in which a 16-year old was killed, two were wounded and 30 were arrested, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has imposed a new restriction banning minors from Millennium Park after 6pm Thursday through Sunday, unless accompanied by an adult.

The fatal night occurred on Saturday, when crowds of young people congregated in the Loop, a vibrant downtown area known for its nightlife, and several altercations broke out. On Sunday, Lightfoot addressed the city. 

“Tragically, a young person — a teenager — lost his life last night in Millennium Park,” Lightfoot said in a statement Sunday announcing the 6 p.m. curfew. “I suspect an overwhelming majority of the youth who were in the park were there to have a good time and enjoy a summer evening. But the scene devolved into one of chaos and unnecessary violence.”

Lightfoot announced the new restrictions on minors in the area, saying the city “cannot allow any of our public spaces to become platforms for danger,” and assured citizens the new rule “will be strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with swiftly.”

The mayor added, “Anyone coming into our public spaces should expect to enjoy them peacefully and must respect and exhibit basic community norms of decency. We simply will not accept anything less.”

The move has garnered some criticism, as some believe restricting access to public spaces will lead to more unnecessary tension between law enforcement and people of color, as police work to enforce the new rules.

The ACLU of Illinois issued a statement on Lightfoot’s announcement, saying, “The vague description — relying on an undefined ‘responsible adult’ — allowing young people to be present in the park and the promise of strict enforcement will result in unnecessary stops and arrests and further strain relations between CPD and young people of color.”

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