D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray told the D.C. Wire late last night that he has some questions about Police Chief Cathy Lanier's plans to set up a checkpoint on a street in Trinidad, the Northeast neighborhood that has been plagued by violence in recent months.
Lanier, with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty by her said, announced yesterday that District police would set up a checkpoint starting Saturday in the 1400 block of Montello Avenue NE and stop all motorists trying to enter the block. The proposal covers the one block and doesn't stop pedestrians.
"It's an extraordinary measure, but it's likely to raise some constitutional questions," Gray said. "I'm not an attorney, but I certainly have some questions."
Some civil liberty activists and Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), along with several residents in the neighborhood, also raised concerns.
But overall, so far, it's safe to say that the plan has gotten begrudging acceptance, and most council members have been silent about the issue.
Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas Jr., where Trinidad is located, said yesterday that while he is mindful of some civil liberty concerns, he is more immediately concerned with stopping the violence that has left 22 people dead in the 5th Police District, one more than all of last year.