Philly Mayor Imposes Curfew to Stop Flash Mobs

Larry Miller, Philadelphia Tribune (via New America Media) | August 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — During an early afternoon press conference on the growing problem of mobs of African-American teens assaulting pedestrians, Mayor Michael Nutter announced further details of the city’s plan to crack down on the violence before it goes any further.

A 9 p.m. curfew in the Center City District for children under the age of 18 will be strictly enforced. That area has been extended from Brown Street to Bainbridge Street and everything in between the Delaware to Schuylkill Rivers.

In some cases, parents could either lose their rights or face criminal charges of negligence if there’s evidence to support it. District Attorney Seth Williams said it’s possible even some suspects could face hate crime charges for randomly assaulting pedestrians.

“Obviously everyone understands that if packs of white teens were going around assaulting African Americans some people think that was a hate crime. We have to have appropriate evidence and probable cause to charge for hate crimes and if we have it, we will,” Williams said. “But that’s minor in some ways. Some of these teens have been charged will aggravated assault — a felony of the first degree, which is the maximum we have short of homicide. We’re vigilant of this and I’ve instructed my charging unit to ascertain as many facts as possible and if appropriate, to charge them with hate crimes.”

Nutter opened his remarks by saying that the majority of Philadelphia’s youth aren’t getting into trouble — they go to school, they work and study hard. Most engage in productive forms of recreation, Nutter said, but those who engage in acts of random violence — attacking people in Center City or any other neighborhood, will feel the full weight of the city’s justice system come down on their shoulders.  (Read more)