GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA) - Video of a teenage flash mob inside a 7-Eleven store may help police convince Montgomery County Council that a curfew is needed.
The curfew question was publicly debated one month ago after Executive Isiah Leggett proposed one. It would ban kids under the age of 18 from public spaces after 11 p.m. during the weekdays and after midnight on the weekends.
"If you have a curfew law and it had been in effect, we could have prevented this incident," said Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger. "If you see 20 kids walking down the street, and you can determine they are under 18, you have a tool at your disposal to make them go home."
During a curfew debate on July 26, many voiced concern over police using discretion when enforcing curfew laws, but Manger said that's when training officers comes into play.
"Nobody's going to use the curfew law to interact with kids if they were at a job that kept them out or engaged in any school activity or even at a movie," he said. "But if you see 25 kids walking down the street at 2am and you don't know what they're up to, that's when the officers can say, 'No, you gotta go home.'"
The video of the flash mob from last week is now one of the most popular video clips on YouTube. It's one of the reasons police were able to quickly identify most of the teenagers involved, after community members, parents and school security officers phoned in with tips. Most of them attend area high schools, said Manger.
"Now we've got to decide how to best deal with this. We do need to hold these kids accountable," he said. "We've determined that some of these kids who were involved have extensive criminal records and I think they need to be looked at perhaps differently than some kid who didn't know what they were getting into and just got swept up in the excitement."