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New Jackson ordinance bans 'nuisance gatherings' in city parking lots

Jackson City Hall's facade.
City of Jackson
The emergency ordinance approved by the Jackson City Council in May gives police authority to disband groups deemed to be creating a nuisance.

The city of Jackson is tightening its rules to prevent parties on city-owned parking lots.

Officials say the city’s downtown parking lots have attracted large, rowdy gatherings in recent week and some have led to incidents of gun violence. In response, the Jackson City Council enacted an emergency ordinance last week that gives the police department authority to break up groups deemed to be creating a nuisance.

The ordinance cracks down on groups producing excessive noise, consuming alcohol, obstructing traffic and engaging in other illegal activities.

“We want people to feel comfortable coming downtown, and we want our parking lots to be parking," said city spokesperson Aaron Dimick. "This is one tool that we have to ensure that.”

Dimick added the new rules do not prohibit all large gatherings and are specifically meant to limit public safety threats to visitors.

“Our police officers can discern what is just a gathering of people who just want to get together downtown and those who are getting together and causing a nuisance or causing a dangerous situation," he said.

Under the new rules, individuals who do not leave when asked by Jackson police could face misdemeanor charges. Those could include a $100 fine or 90 days of jail time.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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