New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended his police commissioner’s decision to remove media outlets from long-held offices inside police headquarters, Newsday reports. “This is not a First Amendment issue; this is a construction issue, and we just don’t have enough room,” Bloomberg said. The media corps was asked to clear out of the second-floor press room called “the Shack” by July 31 after Commissioner Ray Kelly sent eviction notices.
The office space is needed to build a new, expanded joint operations center, officials said. the New York Civil Liberties Union said ousting the news gatherers is an attempt by police officials to control the news. Bloomberg and the police department denies the claim. “No one is keeping the Fourth Estate from covering crimes,” said Bloomberg. The city is not obligated to provide work space for the media. Office space has been made available for news gatherers in buildings across the city, including at in City Hall.