“Every kid in the United States should be in the house by 10 o’clock,” said Kim Freeman, who was coach to both of the teenagers, who were slain during National Night Out in August. Freeman is advocating for the city to pass a curfew ordinance that would force anyone under the age of seventeen to be indoors after 10 p.m.
The march will take place tomorrow from the entrance of the Danforth Memorial Library on Broadway to the City Hall, where Freeman will address members of the City Council, entreating them to pass his suggested law to “protect all life, especially our children.” He also says, he will hold a political skit, where if the sheriff provides him with a horse, he will dress as Django, during the event to symbolize the need to free the youths from street violence.
“At least 500 people are coming,” said Freeman. Who handed out flyers to passersby in Downtown Paterson on Monday afternoon; he says, the march was pushed for by the mothers of the two slain boys: Derrick Fitts and Jaquell Johnson, both 17. “The mothers of the slain boys are the ones who called this march,” said Freeman, 52, a certified teacher. When asked, is it not the responsibility of the parents to enforce curfew, Freeman said, “We the parents are asking the government to help us regulate our children by having a law.”
Freeman, who once ran as a council person candidate for the 3rd Ward, says he hand-delivered a large collection of documents to the governor’s office to implore Chris Christie into action. He wishes to turn this into a national issue rather than just a city problem. He cites various cities that have had to implement curfews including a number of them in New Jersey like Elizabeth and Berkeley Heights.
During the last council meeting, Freeman went in front of the council, and read off a list of major cities that had similar laws in the book like Chicago. In Trenton, there are similar laws in the books that prevent teenagers from walking about the streets, after a certain hour of the night; however, the police do not enforce the rule, rendering it ineffective. Anthony Davis, the 1st Ward councilman, said, “All of those cities you mentioned have a higher crime rate than Paterson.”
Freeman says, he knows the city’s police department wouldn’t be able to enforce the new law, even if it were passed, so he has sent letters to various federal officials like Robert Mendez, senator from the state. He said, “They are going to be asking for federal intervention,” referring to the parents of the two teens who were killed last month.
In 1985, Frank X. Graves Jr., then mayor, wanted to establish curfew for youths 14 and under, to keep them indoors during the night. In 2005, similar measures were brought to the forefront. In 2009, Jose Torres, then mayor of the city, attempted to curfew in every single person in the city, sparking an outrage from local and national media.
Freeman passed out a flyer that said the march would start at 5 p.m. in front of the library and conclude at the council meeting on Tuesday evening.