City leaders at odds over tickets handed out to teens on Plaza - News, Weather & Sports

City leaders at odds over tickets handed out to teens on Plaza

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City leaders are at odds over how the city's teen curfew is being enforced. Some say black kids are being targeted, while others say that's simply not true.

One council member said only one area, the Country Club Plaza, is the focus of catching teens violating curfew. The Kansas City, MO, chief of police said that's where the curfew problems are.

Council member Jermaine Reed, representing Kansas City's third district, believes that Kansas City police unfairly target teens who are hanging out past curfew only at the Plaza and most of those teens are African-Americans.

"There are five entertainment areas in this ordinance and for the past two years it has only been in one place - the Plaza. That's the only place where they have enforced it. I have great concern about that," Reed said.

The city's municipal court revealed stats from the teen curfew citation's annual report Wednesday. Sixty-three violations were issued to the parent or guardian of teens between the ages of 16 and 18 for hanging out without an adult after midnight city-wide or after 9 p.m. in the entertainment districts.

The districts include Zona Rosa, Central Business, Westport, Country Club Plaza and the Power and Light District.

Kansas City, MO, police Chief Darryl Forte appeared on KCTV5's It's Your Morning Show Wednesday and dispelled Reed's allegations of racially profiling the teens.

"If there's anyone who has been down to the Plaza and you see the kids that are unruly, they have been basically black kids. I've been down there myself. I've spent hours down there," Forte said.

Reed said the police department may not be utilizing its resources to be able to monitor teens breaking curfew in other districts.

"I have been in many of these locations after hours and I've seen firsthand where there have been young people who are underage and they're hanging out," he said.

But some of the areas say they have not had as many issues as the Plaza. Zona Rosa officials say they have always had a curfew since its opening in 2004 and teens causing problems have not been an issue.

"That's dangerous to the community when you come out and say it's racial profiling. It's very dangerous when you're talking about building trust in the community. Get the facts before you throw all that out there," Forte said.

Forte is a regular guest on the KCTV5 morning show.

KCTV5 was unable to reach other entertainment districts about teens breaking curfew. The City Council will also hear stats from police.

The 63 violations broke down to this:

  • 21 teens were found guilty and their parent or guardian was issued fines averaging about $40.
  • No jail time is involved.
  • 25 cases were closed by being acquitted or dismissed.
  • Five cases are still pending.

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