“We need a exit strategy!” The WaPo:
D.C. police stepped up efforts last night to curb violence in the hard-pressed Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington, choking off access to several streets there to force drivers to pass through the new anti-crime checkpoint, Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.
The Montello Avenue checkpoint, where police demanded that motorists account for their presence in the neighborhood, was set up Saturday night for the first time, but some drivers circumvented it by using nearby streets to enter Trinidad, Lanier said.
She said police were “going to be narrowing the funnel a little bit” by guiding the flow of traffic toward Montello Avenue. However, it appeared that the number of officers assigned last night was insufficient to fully implement the plan, and the strategy took on many aspects of a work in progress.
As traffic backed up, officers found it necessary to remove traffic cones that were intended to close some of the streets. Nevertheless, the checkpoint operated on Montello Avenue, where motorists were questioned closely about their reasons for being there and were asked to provide identification.
On Saturday, police turned away about half of the 50 cars that tried to pass through the checkpoint. Twenty-six drivers were denied access because they “refused to give enough information to continue through Trinidad,” said police spokeswoman Traci Hughes, offering the first statistical review of the law enforcement activities.
Your papers are not in order!
And from the Examiner:
Police officers were dispatched to D.C.’s controversial neighborhood checkpoints this weekend despite not having undergone constitutional training, The Examiner has learned.
Mayor Adrian Fenty and his interim attorney general, Peter Nickles, emphasized a strict training regimen for officers when trying to sell their quarantine program to a wary public last week. But two 5th District police sources told The Examiner that within a day of launching the no-go zones, untrained officers were ordered to the barricades.
When the officers protested, their supervisor admitted that he hadn’t been trained, either. He told them to re-christen the barricades “safety compliance checkpoints” in case anyone asked, three police sources told The Examiner.
Lanier’s fiat establishing the “Neighborhood Safety Zones” declares that “only those members who have successfully completed all NSZ-related training required by the Chief of Police may participate in the implementation of an NSZ.” That training, the order continues, “shall include specific limitations on members’ exercise of discretion in determining whether a vehicle will be permitted to enter the NSZ.”
Nickles said last week that the city’s legal defense of the checkpoints rested on federal court decisions upholding similar “targeted” checkpoints — so long as the officers were properly trained.
Looks like the city’s papers aren’t in order either!