PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Michael A. Nutter, telling black youths “you have damaged your own race,” imposed a tougher curfew Monday in response to the latest “flash mob” — spontaneous groups of teens who attack people at random on the streets of the city’s tourist and fashionable shopping districts.
“Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer,” Mr. Nutter, the city’s third black mayor, said in an angry lecture aimed at black teens. “Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”
“If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ‘cause you look like you’re crazy,” the mayor said. “You have damaged your own race.”
Mr. Nutter announced that he was beefing up police patrols in certain neighborhoods, enlisting volunteers to monitor the streets and moving up the weekend curfew for minors to 9 p.m.
Parents will face increased fines for each time their child is caught violating the curfew.
In the past two years, the City of Brotherly Love has been the scene of several flash mobs in which youth meet at planned locations by texting one another and then commit assorted mayhem.
In one episode, teens knocked down passers-by on a Center City street and entered an upscale department store where they assaulted shoppers. On another occasion, hundreds of teens gathered in a restaurant district and menaced patrons, forcing some restaurant owners to lock customers inside temporarily for their own protection or to close early.
In the latest event July 29, about 20 to 30 youths descended on Center City after dark, then punched, beat and robbed bystanders. One man was kicked so savagely that he was hospitalized with a fractured skull. Police arrested four people, including an 11-year-old.
I personally think this is a great idea. They do not need to be out running the streets after 9 o’clock. They are only teenagers and can’t get into anywhere anyway. They can’t possibly be doing anything constructive. I also like the fact that their parents will have to pay fines. Things are out of control these days. Everyone needs to work together. Some kids are so out of control; the parents can’t even do anything.