Fireworks curfew smacks of discrimination

By Steve Neavling

Detroit City Council thought it had effectively banned unsupervised children today from the annual 2012 Detroit Target Fireworks.

But a city attorney quickly ended the curfew ordinance, calling it “an extreme restriction on rights” that would therefore need approval from two-thirds of the council.

The nine-member board could only mustered five votes.

The curfew was proposed after gangs and other thugs have pledged to stir up trouble at the fireworks along the riverfront. But what about the vast majority of Detroit teens who only want to enjoy the show but don’t have family to supervise them? Even more, why is there no curfew during the city’s most debaucherous day – Opening Day for the Tigers?

“The poster child for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and inappropriate behavior is Opening Day,” Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said.

In a city where teens already are targeted by police shakedowns and other unfair public safety tactics, imposing a curfew during fireworks only sends one message: “We are afraid of you. We don’t trust you.”

It’s no wonder black children feel left out.

It’s a shame our elected leaders don’t get that.

The five council members who supported the curfew were Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, Saunteel Jenkins, Andre Spivey and James Tate.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.