Austin’s juvenile curfew continues through summer in compromise


The Austin City Council voted Thursday night after a two-hour debate to temporarily extend the juvenile curfew through Oct. 1 in a compromise.

Many had been in favor of eliminating the curfew outright. However, as the debate went on, questions grew about how police would interact with children seen out late at night.

In the end, the the council voted 7-4 to extend the night-time curfew for people under the age of 17 to Oct. 1. The ordinance was also changed to mandate that police only give warnings on the first two violations. A third could result in a $500 fine and a conviction of a class C misdemeanor, though curfew violations usually do not result in a conviction, according to court staff.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Austin City Council to weigh fate of juvenile curfew

The extension was put in place after about 30 people spoke against the curfew and a two-hour debate that got somewhat tangled in amendments. Council members Greg Casar, Kathie Tovo, Delia Garza and Mayor Steve Adler voted against extending the curfew.

“I am against because it can affect a lot of teenagers, especially ones like me,” said Kevin Alvarez, one of several teenagers to speak out against the curfew. “We know we are being targeted because we look different, and we are also scared because it could stain our record.”

The night-time curfew makes it illegal for anyone under 17 to be out in public or in a business between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The day-time curfew, which does essentially the same thing between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on school days, was not extended.

The possibility of the council killing the curfew on Thursday suffered a major setback when Council Member Ellen Troxclair switched sides. Troxclair said she remained against the curfew, but thought it was a reasonable compromise to offer a temporary extension while a panel of stakeholders looks at alternatives.

OPINION: Casar says curfew ordinance leans harder on black, Latino youth

Austin police interim Chief Brian Manley said that police are relied upon to ensure the safety of juveniles. Manley said that without a curfew, his officers would not be able to detain juveniles found in crime-ridden neighborhoods late at night.

Manley said officers would still be able to approach youths and inquire about their safety, but nothing would prevent the child from walking away or refusing to answer questions. And if that situation suddenly escalated into a use-of-force scenario, it could expose police officers and the police department to litigation.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly
PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly

President Donald Trump argued that immigrants entering illegally are gaming the American immigration system, citing a remarkable rise in asylum applications. He said some asylum-seekers are abusing the process with criminal intentions. “There’s been a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims over the last 10 years,” Trump said in a...
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations

Since early June, President Donald Trump had insisted that his hands were tied and families who wanted to enter America without permission had to be separated. The adults went to one place to await criminal charges, while their children were sent to another facility. As the number of children being held rose above 2,000, Trump continued to blame the...
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government

President Donald Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, on Thursday unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans.  Produced over the past year by Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social...
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?

Judge Dolly M. Gee has called the treatment of immigrant children in detention “deplorable” in a legal opinion. She has castigated the federal government for “fear mongering” when it argued that the detention of migrant families at the border was a necessary deterrent.  And that was during the Obama administration. ...
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats

Fresh data affirm a long-running crisis for U.S. media organizations: Republicans and conservatives just don't trust them. A May 2017 Pew Research Center noted in stark terms how the media-trust gap is widening between the parties. Now comes a Gallup/Knight Foundation survey with a finding that cements common wisdom on the topic.  Asked to estimate...
More Stories