Mayor Michael A. Nutter, telling marauding black youths “you have damaged your own race,” imposed a tougher curfew Monday in response to the latest “flash mob” — spontaneous groups of teens who attack people at random on the streets of the city’s tourist and fashionable shopping districts.
“Take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer,” Mr. Nutter, the city’s third black mayor, said in an angry lecture aimed at black teens. “Pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”
“If you walk into somebody’s office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won’t hire you? They don’t hire you ‘cause you look like you’re crazy,” the mayor said. “You have damaged your own race.”
Mr. Nutter announced that he was beefing up police patrols in certain neighborhoods, enlisting volunteers to monitor the streets and moving up the weekend curfew for minors to 9 p.m.
The head of Philadelphia’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, J. Whyatt Mondesire, said it “took courage” for Mr. Nutter to deliver the message.
“These are majority African-American youths and they need to be called on it,” Mr. Mondesire said.
Mary Catherine Roper, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said her group sees the curfew move as legal with its sole caveat being that it not evolve “into an excuse to hassle” any youths on the street.
The state ACLU filed a federal lawsuit last year challenging Philadelphia police’s use of “stop and frisk” searches. A settlement announced in June allowed the program to continue, along with safeguards to prevent the use of racial profiling.