Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Sean Waites said she will propose legislation to mandate a citywide curfew for young people following the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy.
The legislation, to be introduced at the Dec. 5 City Council meeting, would mandate a 7 p.m. citywide curfew for those 17 and younger, Waites announced. It would also require locations with a history of violence to integrate commercial-grade cameras into the Atlanta Police Department’s Video Integration Center where officers can access security footage in real time.
Waites said in a Nov. 28 news release the legislation is intended to be a “stop gap measure” as the city seeks way to prevent gun violence in Atlanta. Zyion Charles, 12, was killed in a shooting that injured five other teens near Atlantic Station over the holiday weekend.
“This senseless death of Zyion Charles has placed an exclamation point on the citywide cry for help,” Waites said in a news release, adding she believed the curfew would help save lives.
“I believe that much of the violence in our city is a result of unmet needs, including lack of affordable housing, inadequate access to mental health services, and low-paying wages,” Waites added.
Waites made the announcement after the City Council’s public safety committee. Waites is a member of the committee.
Deerica Charles, Zyion’s mother, told the public safety committee on Nov. 28 that she asked repeatedly for help from city law enforcement to help her with her son. She said Zyion had a mental illness, was breaking into cars and needed to be in custody to get him off the streets.
“I tried, y’all,” Charles told the committee, weeping, with Zyion’s grandmother crying at her side. “I called the police officer almost 30 times in the last year … I said I am begging you, could you get my son in custody?”
She said police and the juvenile justice system refused to help her and “now my son is gone.”
“I failed my son, I failed my kids, I failed myself,” she said. “I feel like I didn’t do enough. But I cried and I cried, ‘Could y’all please help these young boys?’” she told the committee.
“What if they got a chance?” she said she told authorities. “Because I don’t.”
A fundraiser for Deerica Charles can be found at this link.