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Oxford Curfew Delayed Because of Fear of Discrimination

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OXFORD — A vote on a teenage curfew in Oxford was put off by town commissionersuntil October because some residents think the proposal would cause discrimination.

Oxford residents want crime under control in their community, and they think a teenage curfew would help. Police and several community watchgroups support the idea, but some think African-American teens wouldbe discriminated against.

The curfew would keep teens age 15 and younger off the streets after midnighton weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays. The police department said it'sdesigned to help parents keep good kids out of trouble and bad kids fromstarting more. But not everyone is a fan.

"You know, on paper, it looks good, but the application iswhere we feel the problem would come in,"

Joyner said police would unfairly target black teenagers. He said Oxfordpolice have shown racist tendencies in the past and believes theirenforcement of a curfew would continue the trend.

"The police force might not have the sensitivity to apply it evenly,"

Police Chief Roger Paul denied his officers are racist in any way. At itsmonthly meeting, town commissioners put off a possible vote on the issueuntil October and asked the town's attorney to study the legalities of acurfew in the meantime. That despite outgoing commissioner Carolyn Hardy'scall for an immediate vote.

"We are here to help people make our community better, and thisis one way I think we can do it,"

A survey of town residents found most people support the curfew, bothblack and white. All sides agreed the idea needs more study before a decision is made. Joyner says finding more things for kids to do would gomuch farther than clearing the streets.

"We have no skating rings, no bowling alleys, no movies no, youknow, good recreation centers,"

And no quick solution to the question.

Under the proposed rules, police would call the parents of first-time curfewviolators. Parents of repeat offenders would get a $500 fine and possibly six months in jail.

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