The emergency curfew order also had no teeth because the jail won’t take people arrested on municipal warrants anyway.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s main strategy to prevent violence after 21 people were shot downtown Friday was a citywide curfew. However, police issued ZERO curfew tickets during the two days the Milwaukee emergency curfew order was in place.
Furthermore, since Johnson called Tuesday for “enhanced” enforcement of the regular curfew ordinance, only 5 curfew tickets have been issued throughout the city.
Wisconsin Right Now has also learned that the emergency curfew order had no real teeth because the jail won’t take people with only municipal warrants.
After the downtown shootings on Friday, Johnson responded with the emergency curfew order for Saturday and Sunday, limiting people under 21 from going to the Water Street area after 11 p.m.
“The order was only for Saturday and Sunday. There were no citations issued,” a spokesman for MPD confirmed to Wisconsin Right Now.
On Tuesday, Johnson subsequently promised the “enhanced” enforcement of the curfew ordinance that has always existed for those 17 and under. “There were 0 citations issued on Monday into Tuesday. There were 5 issued yesterday into today,” the spokesman told us.
Furthermore, we have learned that the Milwaukee emergency curfew order really had NO teeth.
That’s because the Milwaukee County Jail doesn’t accept people arrested on municipal warrants only unless they also committed another new crime. The MPD spokesman confirmed this was the case. Thus, if a cop issued a curfew ticket, and a person just didn’t show up or pay it, a warrant would be issued. An officer could arrest a person on that warrant, but there is nowhere to take them. So they would have to be let go and given a new court date. This would be an endless cycle of no consequence.
Thus, there is no real penalty for ignoring a curfew ticket or any municipal ticket for that matter if you’re an adult. The regular curfew ordinance only affects juveniles; the jail doesn’t take juveniles, obviously.
“If an individual does not pay a citation or show up for a court a municipal warrant could be issued,” the spokesman confirmed.
“Milwaukee Police officers have discretion whether to arrest an individual with a municipal warrant or not. However, the Criminal Justice Facility does not hold individuals on municipal warrants unless the individual has a new criminal charge. All these factors are taken into consideration when deciding to arrest an individual with a municipal warrant.” We asked where a person could be taken if the CJF won’t take them and he said, “Officers would give them a new court date.”
What is the current curfew ordinance already in place?
“Loitering of Minors (Curfew Hours). It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 17 years to congregate, loiter, wander, stroll, stand or play in or upon the public streets, highways, roads, alleys, parks, public buildings, places of amusement and entertainment, places of employment, vacant lots or any public places in the city either on foot or in or upon any conveyance being driven or parked thereon, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. of the following day, official city time, Sunday through Thursday and between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday, from September 1 through May 31; and between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. from June 1 through August 31.”