Greensboro council calls emergency meeting to discuss teen curfew

The Greensboro City Council called an emergency meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 9:30 a.m. to discuss reinstating the teen curfew. After several small fights involving young people downtown on Saturday night, leading to 11 arrests, council is planning a brief public meeting.

A rumor circulated last week prior to the arrests Saturday that council would be taking another look at the curfew, but numerous council members including Mayor Robbie Perkins said they hadn't heard anything about it.

Police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said that of the 11 people arrested Saturday night downtown between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m., one was 16-years old, five were 17-years old, four were 18-years old and one was 20-years old. Four small-scale fights along Elm Street near Center City Park resulted in the arrests on a variety of charges including assault on a law enforcement officer and inciting a riot.

"We did have to use pepper spray and we did have to physically restrain some people and [there was] one use of a taser," Danielsen said. "We also responded to a call of 'shots fired' in that area. We had an officer who saw and heard a muzzle flash."

There were no injuries in the apparent use of a firearm, she said, and the incident appeared to be separate from the fights. None of the small-scale fights were related, as far as police could determine, and there was nothing police could identify that united the participants or a mass of people at the park other than age. 


Danielsen said between 300 and 400 young people — not all teens, she added, "but they’re certainly not 50" — were gathered at Center City Park playing music and hanging out, adding that despite some news reports there was no riot.


Greensboro police called for back up from UNCG police and the Guilford County Sheriff's Department, though it is currently unclear when the call was issued. Danielsen was unsure if the incidents were an anomaly or part of a pattern of smaller issues with young people downtown at night, saying she'd have to check the data. 


"As the weather gets nicer you expect more people to be outside," she said. "It’s kind of the natural rhythm to have more events occur in the summer. We’re looking at a lot of options because this is not just a police responsibility."



Police were already planning to have an increased presence downtown for the Fourth of July, and Danielsen said it was important to keep things in context and remember most people who will attend Fourth of July events downtown are peaceful. Danielsen encouraged parents to know where their kids are for the holiday and to hold structured events if possible. 

The incidents Saturday were not related to a nearby Saturday Night Lights event that happened at Festival Park earlier in the evening, Danielsen said, adding that police were involved in the event and attendees left peacefully. The fights also didn't include people coming downtown to go to clubs or people leaving earlier after eating dinner, she said. 

UPDATE: The city's official meeting announcement says council will discuss reimplementing the teen curfew "in the central business district for approximately 60 days." The meeting will be in the plaza level conference room of the Melvin Municipal Office Building downtown, and the announcement refers to it as "an emergency meeting."

When asked if the fights were an anomaly, Perkins said, "Obviously we had a similar problem a couple of years ago" and added that "We can’t afford not to take action." Perkins said the response would be multi-faceted and that the city will hold a meeting with community leaders at 2 p.m. tomorrow to discuss other aspects of a solution. The meeting will likely be in the same room as the earlier council meeting and is open to the public.

"The real question we’ve got to ask is, 'Why do we have so many young people in the streets of Greensboro at 12, 1 o’clock in the morning?'" Perkins said.

2 comments:

Billy Jones said...

" "The real question we’ve got to ask is, 'Why do we have so many young people in the streets of Greensboro at 12, 1 o’clock in the morning?'" Perkins said. "

The answer: Because Downtown Greensboro Inc and the City of Greensboro invited them to come downtown. That's why.

Roch Smith, Jr said...

"Police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said that of the 11 people arrested Saturday night downtown between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.,"

Were there 11 people arrested between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.? You should ask for the arrest reports. I think you were being mislead.