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City Council rejects youth curfew proposed by police chief

Questions raised about collaboration, age limits, officer discretion


After more than two hours of discussion Monday night, the Fayetteville City Council voted 7-3 to reject a youth curfew ordinance presented by Police Chief Kemberle Braden, opting instead to rework it with amendments brought forth during the evening’s discussion.

Council members Deno Hondros, Mario Benavente and Johnny Dawkins voted against the decision to continue debating the ordinance.   

Council member Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, who made the motion the council approved, said she supports the curfew but needs to see more involvement from the city’s partners before moving forward — a point almost every member of the council made as well.

“We need everybody at the table: the county, the school board, the judges,” Banks-McLaughlin said. 

The ordinance was put forward by Braden in the wake of recent shootings involving minors as perpetrators or victims and other acts of juvenile crime, such as car theft. 

The ordinance would prohibit anyone younger than 18 from being in public in the city limits between 1 and 5 a.m. on weekends and midnight and 5 a.m. on weekdays. Anyone under 16 would be further restricted from being in public between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. weekends and weekdays.

Several concerns voiced by a majority of the council likely contributed to its decision not to pass the draft ordinance Monday. They included: 

  • Lack of collaboration with the Cumberland County Department of Social Services and other community partners to establish a protocol and support services for affected youths. 
  • The age limit of the ordinance. 
  • Fines that would be imposed for enforcement. 
  • Lack of clarity in multiple aspects of the ordinance. 
  • Insufficient juvenile crime data. 
  • Issues of police officer discretion in determining enforcement protocol. 

Council member Brenda McNair emphasized concerns about a lack of precision in the proposed ordinance. 

“I am a person of clarity, and I don’t feel that we have clarity tonight, even with all that’s been said,” McNair said. “However, I feel that we need to have a conversation, all of us, once again, because we are just going back and forth and nothing’s getting resolved.”

The decision to delay a final judgment on the ordinance comes after the council announced last week that it would schedule a special meeting to discuss it and a public hearing on any agreed-upon ordinance before the curfew is approved.  

Contact Evey Weisblat at eweisblat@cityviewnc.com.

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Fayetteville, city council, youth curfew, crime