Posted: Oct 11, 2011 10:32 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Oct 11, 2011 10:35 PM
The Ville Platte City Council decides to lift the walking curfew that's been in place since early this year.
Council is revisiting the ordinance after a lawsuit was filed, claiming the curfew violates peoples' rights.
Beginning on Wednesday, anyone over the age of 17 can walk the streets after 10 o'clock at night. However, another separate ordinance requires walkers to wear reflective gear while on those streets.
At Wednesday night's council meeting, many residents came out in support of the seven-hour curfew from 10PM to 5AM.
"I'm for the curfew whether its their right or not," one resident told council. "I know I have rights but if I need to stay home to be safe, I will."
More than a dozen people voicing their opinions on why the city should keep the curfew:
"Things have gotten much quieter," another resident said.
"When the street lights come on, get in the house," says another.
"If it works, keep rolling with it."
Only one person spoke against the seven-hour curfew- Evangeline Parish's Arthur Sampson.
"I was on a ship in the navy to fight for peoples' freedom and rights." Sampson says, "and here we are talking about taking away peoples' freedoms and rights? Come on now."
Despite the number of people in support of the curfew, council still lifted it. A recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU is forcing the city to take a second look at the US Constitution before implementing a new curfew.
"The curfew has been suspended until we can reevaluate the ordinance that we used to impose the curfew," City Attorney Eric Lafleur said. "To make sure it meets all constitutional requirements."
After hearing this outcry for the curfew, City Council is looking at rewriting the ordinance to avoid any further legal battles.
It may sound confusing up to this point, so what can a walker do and what can't they do? Ville Platte Police give these guidelines:
Walk the streets safely!
If over the age of 17, the curfew has been lifted and people may walk any PUBLIC roadways at any time.
Wear reflective gear!
There is a separate ordinance in the city of Ville Platte requiring pedestrians to wear reflective clothing after dusk. Police can and will ticket individuals not wearing reflective clothing after dusk.
Loitering is the act of remaining in a particular public place for a protracted time. That includes walking the same block repeatedly. In the state of Louisiana, individuals can receive up to six-months in jail for loitering.
Don't forget your reflective gear!
Even if over the age of 17, all pedestrians are required to wear reflective clothing after dusk-- not 10PM-- dusk.