Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY – Last Saturday, around 20 teenagers were arrested for alleged curfew violations in front of a local movie theater. However, this action flies in the face of the law, no matter how it is interpreted.
The city’s curfew statute sets the curfew at 11 PM, which was 20 minutes later than when the teens were rounded up like common criminals and taken to jail. The statute also allows for children to wait for rides from parents after attending a movie, even if it is after curfew, which, incidentally, was not the case here.
Some of the teens who had been attending a movie with adult supervision were also arrested while waiting for the adults to return with their car.
One pair of teenage girls were told to shut up when they attempted to explain that they had just been let out of a movie and were waiting in front of the theater while their mother pulled the car around. The teens were never asked if they were there to see a movie, which would be acceptable under the city’s statute.
One mother told NewsOK that the thuggish police officers would not listen when her children pointed out their mother’s car waiting for them, which had been there minutes before the curfew time of 11.
The mother, Valenthia Doolin, said that they “felt violated, harassed and frightened at the hands of Oklahoma City law enforcement.”
So much for protect and serve! Terrorize and subjugate would be a more accurate motto to have slapped on their vehicles.
The Chief of Police of Oklahoma City, Bill Citty, said that this Nazi-style sweep was conducted because there had been reports of increased violent crimes being committed by young people after curfew.
Of course this completely fails to explain why children who were able to point out their parents waiting for them were treated as if they were committing a crime when they were doing no such thing.
The ordeal for these unfortunate children did not end at simple police harassment; they were all taken to the local holding facility for juvenile offenders, the Crisis Intervention Center. The CIS is run by Youth Services for Oklahoma County Incorporated, a non-profit contractor for the city and state, according to NewsOK.
Is it not interesting that the teens were scooped up and taken to what amounts to a junior private prison? I guess it is a great way to get them used to the treatment the police hope to dole out to them in the future: irrational selective enforcement and perpetual incarceration in private prisons. It also helps to show that the police officers do not care about the law or the facts; they care more about generating revenue.
Of course this so-called non-profit organization responsible for this detainment facility is run by people who have published associations with corporations that undoubtedly have some interest in the operations of the facility.
Even though none of the kids did a single thing against the law and were victims of a brutish police power trip, they were held without being able to see their parents for at least six hours.
According to parents, the innocent teens were verbally assaulted by CIC staff members who “used profanity, harsh language and called kids liars when they weren’t given the information they wanted to hear […] I could hear my daughter and her friend just in the other room bawling.”
This specific parent was forced to wait six hours from the time she arrived at the CIC because the staff had to supposedly complete paperwork. Maybe it took them four hours to find the form for “illegally arrested and detained without access to parents or legal counsel.”
The President and Chief Executive of Youth Services, the private incorporated body that gets paid to house innocent teenagers, claimed that this was just a matter of procedure. In response they are “looking at a couple of our processes on how we handle large groups.”
Of course they will not look into the policies that allow events like this to take place to begin with, as that decreased flow of prisoners would undoubtedly bring some more budget cuts.
The larger question presented by this story is: why should you care about some teenagers in Oklahoma City being falsely arrested and detained for a curfew violation?
The answer lies in the most basic fact of the case: the curfew statute.
The entire notion of a curfew enforced by armed “officers” is something that instantly brings to mind the Jewish curfews put in place by Nazi Germany in 1939.
Throughout history, curfews do not mark open, free and democratic societies, but instead the twisted, cancerous system that is Fascism.
Some tout the curfew system as a viable solution to youth crime, while completely ignoring the fact that most crimes committed against children are not committed at night, and that most children who are out at night (like all of the children in this OKC case) are not out to commit crimes.
These curfews are not only a symptom of a totalitarian police state but they also happen to be completely ineffective in their stated goal. These curfew statues fail to curb crime or keep children safe.
Studies have found that the most active hour for violent crimes against youths aged 12-14 is around 3 PM; similarly, violent crimes committed by youths peaks around 3 PM when school is in session and 8 pm when it is not.
To make matters worse for the baseless notion that curfews decrease youth crime or keep them safer, the majority of violent crimes against children ages 12-14 and 50% of the violent crimes against children age 15-17 occur within their own homes.
An outdoor curfew at 11 PM, like that in Oklahoma City, is nothing more than a waste of time and taxpayer money. It is also an assault on our right to feel safe from being illegally detained for hours when not doing a single thing wrong.
The plain fact is that curfews do not work and have never worked. If we allow these completely de-legitimized statutory systems to stay in place, we can expect more imbecilic police officers to continue these deplorable actions.