The nation’s capital began enforcing its juvenile curfew pilot program Friday, the same day a judge denied bond for a 16-year-old girl accused of fatally stabbing another teen in Washington, D.C., during what authorities deemed a dispute over a McDonald’s Sweet ‘N Sour sauce packet.
The deadly attack occurred on August 27 at approximately 2:10 a.m. The D.C. Juvenile Curfew Enforcement Pilot, which encompasses both the timeframe and location of the incident, was already in the works at the time of fatal stabbing, FOX 5 DC noted.
On Friday, a second D.C. Superior Court judge refused to grant bond for the 16-year-old girl facing second-degree murder and other charges in the slaying of 16-year-old Naima Liggon.
A detective testified that the stabbing resulted from a dispute over the dipping sauce outside the 24-hour McDonald’s by U Street and 14th Street Northwest.
Without addressing the incident directly, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday that the juvenile pilot program would target seven focus areas selected by the Metropolitan Police Department that cover neighborhoods "that have experienced a substantial increase in the number of young people involved in criminal conduct such as robberies or carjackings."
Yet, hours after the pilot program took effect Friday, two teens were killed, and a third remained hospitalized in critical condition after shots rang out in the 1300 block of 7th Street just before midnight. The two deceased were identified as 19-year-old Mikeya Ferguson and 18-year-old Cle’shai Perry, FOX 5 DC reported, while a 16-year-old girl is fighting for her life.
The curfew prohibits minors under 17 from being in any public place or on the premises of any establishment Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12:01 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Enforcement, which began Friday, September 1, involves officers bringing minors found violating the curfew to Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services "achievement centers" until they can be reconnected in the morning with a parent or guardian.
U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves announced last week that his office would begin pursuing adult charges against 16- and 17-year-old carjacking and robbery suspects.
In a press release Thursday, Bowser said the juvenile curfew pilot program "will free MPD officers of this responsibility, allowing them to return to patrol during critical hours."
Before the pilot program, officers would bring juveniles found violating the curfew into police stations, where an officer had to stay with the minor until a parent or guardian was located. Officers will now bring youths to a "safe space" and then return to the community to resume patrol, the mayor said.
"The vast majority of our young people are doing the right thing – they are back in school, they are involved in extracurriculars, and in the evenings and at night, they are where they need to be – supervised and safe. But we need that to be true for all of our young people, and if we have kids and teenagers who are not in safe situations, we need to connect with those families," Bowser said in a statement Thursday. "I’ve shared before that when I was young, my father used to tell me: There’s nothing good in the street after 11 o’clock. We want our kids home, we want them safe, and if they’re not – we want families working with us to get their kids the help that they need."