After Hours

On March 13, producers for MTV’s ultrahip news show, “Like We Care,” came to Dallas to film an informal debate between police officers and the teen-agers who filed suit against the city last summer after the City Council voted to support a citywide curfew (11 on weeknights; midnight on weekends). MTVers then planned to meet with two dozen or so teen-agers at the Campbell Green rec center in North Dallas at 10 p.m.

But the MTV crew was late, and soon police arrived at the scene and asked the group to disband. According to the teens, the police first laughed at the MTV explanation, then verbally harassed them and threatened to arrest them if they didn’t leave. The kids say that police, who at one point had seven squad cars present, never stated what laws the juveniles were breaking. Nevertheless, five teens were arrested, with at least three put in handcuffs.

MTV’s cameras finally appeared. The news segment that aired March 26 showed departing police and enraged teens, including one who accused police of “doing these kids like they’re animals-throwing them around and beating them up.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating the fracas, which left the youngsters with bitter feelings. As Peggy Lawlis, 17, says, “They (the police] are losing a generation because none of us trust them. . .You like to think the Constitution protects you.”


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