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A Number Of U.S. Cities Mandate Strict Curfews In Wake Of George Floyd Protests
Here's what to expect from curfews in Minneapolis, New York City, and more.
In the wake of ongoing protests that has seen violent clashes between police and demonstrators, a number of U.S. cities have instituted curfews in an attempt to bring the protests under control.
Cities instituting curfews have seen large-scale protests nearly every day following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd last week. Floyd, a black man, was allegedly murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck while Floyd protested he was unable to breathe.
A large number of curfew orders or orders instituting restrictions on travel have been issued across the country — mainly in metropolitan areas, according to data published by the nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Curfews refer to a period of time when people are mandated to be off public streets under threat of arrest or criminal charges, often during an overnight period.
Curfews often carve out exemptions for members of the media reporting on civil unrest or protests, alongside police departments, fire departments, and other emergency service workers.
Here are some of the major cities that have instituted curfews and what the curfews look like.
New York City
New York City has enacted a curfew, with Mayor Bill de Blasio stating anyone outside between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. may be subject to arrest. The curfew will be in effect until next Sunday, June 7, according to The New York Times.
“Everyone should be off the street by 8 p.m.,” New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said during a press conference Tuesday with de Blasio.
The executive order announcing the curfew states that no person or vehicle is allowed to be out in public during the curfew, and that "police officers, peace officers, firefighters, first responders and emergency medical technicians" are exempted, alongside essential workers and homeless people who do not have residences.
The curfew order will end a day before New York City is set to start reopening after COVID-19 restrictions on June 8, according to NBC New York. The NYC area — one of the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic — is still set to reopen that day as other parts of the state begin to move to Phase 2 of reopening.
When reached for comment Tuesday, the New York City Police Department referred Oxygen.com to de Blasio's press conference announcing the curfew.
Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous county with approximately 10 million residents, enacted a 12-hour overnight curfew beginning Monday, citing "imminent danger to life and property during the hours of darkness."
"Any violation of this order is a misdemeanor," the text of the executive order reads — explaining violators could be punished by a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to six months in jail.
However, the countywide order saw a wave of confusion Monday night after many Los Angeles residents received an emergency notice on their phones that stated a curfew would be in effect from 6 p.m. Monday night until 6 a.m. Tuesday — only to receive another alert moments later stating a curfew would start at 5 p.m., according to LAist.
The message turned out to be a mistake as it came from the city of Glendale ordering a 5 p.m. curfew. However, the alert apparently went out to all residents of Los Angeles County.
Minneapolis has slightly lesser curfew restrictions than other cities — with a state order mandating a curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday night.
Only people going to or from work are allowed outside during the curfew, alongside emergency workers like police officers and firefighters, according to the Star Tribune. Homeless people are exempt from the order as well.
"A 'public place' is any place, whether on privately or publicly owned property, accessible to the general public, including but not limited to public streets and roads, alleys, highways, driveways, sidewalks, parks, vacant lots, and unsupervised property," the text of Gov. Tim Walz's executive order reads.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted an executive order on Monday, stating that a curfew encompassing the entirety of D.C. would be in effect from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The order exempts essential workers, people attempting to vote, and emergency services. The order also highlights Bowser's authority to order a new curfew if deemed necessary.
“If you are not a member of the media or you do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody,” police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference, according to The Washington Post. “And that is a warning.”
“If you are out, then you are subject to be stopped and/or arrested,” Bowser said at the news conference. “So, it’s very important that you stay home.”