Ocala, Florida — The Ocala Police Department says they have been experiencing problems with minors late at night on the weekends at Wal-Mart on Easy Street and other surrounding businesses.
On April 26, 2014, multiple officers were dispatched to Wal-Mart and the McDonald’s across the street due to large groups of minors causing disturbances.
There was no adult supervision present and their behavior was disruptive to other patrons of the businesses as well as the business owners.
Once stopped and detained, parents were called to respond and take custody of their children.
Many parents could not pick up their children or simply didn’t care enough to arrive prior to the close of business at McDonald’s, therefore the minors had to be transported to OPD headquarters to await pickup.
The Ocala Police Department wants to remind the community that there is a curfew law (State Law) that the City of Ocala has adopted for minors and that the law holds the parents responsible for making sure their child/children don’t violate this law.
Minors prohibited in public places and establishments during certain hours; penalty; procedure:
- (1)(a) A minor may not be or remain in a public place or establishment between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day, Sunday through Thursday, except in the case of a legal holiday.
- (b) A minor may not be or remain in a public place or establishment between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
- (2) A minor who has been suspended or expelled from school may not be or remain in a public place, in an establishment, or within 1,000 feet of a school during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during any school day.
- (3) A minor who violates this section shall receive a written warning for her or his first violation. A minor who violates this section after having received a prior written warning is guilty of a civil infraction and shall pay a fine of $50 for each violation.
- (4) If a minor violates a curfew and is taken into custody, the minor shall be transported immediately to a police station or to a facility operated by a religious, charitable, or civic organization that conducts a curfew program in cooperation with a local law enforcement agency. After recording pertinent information about the minor, the law enforcement agency shall attempt to contact the parent of the minor and, if successful, shall request that the parent take custody of the minor and shall release the minor to the parent.
Business owners have complained and said that they fear they will lose business if the kids continue to hang out and cause trouble. Many have expressed their concerns and said they feel this matter is a parenting issue. One local business owner Ocala Post called, said via phone, “These kids do not have any discipline. The child will act how the parent allows them to act, and if the parent doesn’t care or has been in trouble with the law themselves, then the apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Parents in Marion County are being asked to step up and take more responsibility for their children.
The curfew will be enforced, and fines will be issued if parents do not take appropriate measures.
The Ocala Police Department said, “We appreciate the cooperation from all parents and minors.”