A federal judge has cleared the way for Washington, D.C., police to continue using checkpoints to screen motorists going into neighborhoods beset by crime, saying that the public had an “overwhelming need to be protected” from gunmen in cars, the Washington Post reports. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon strongly endorsed the tactics that were used for 14 days in a neighborhood called Trinidad area after a spate of shootings. Drivers complained that police had no legal right to ask drivers whether they had a legitimate reason to be there.
The Partnership for Civil Justice asked the judge for an injunction to stop the checkpoints until broader legal issues are decided. Leon said “the public’s interest in deterring violent crime of this type through a checkpoint program this carefully crafted is overwhelming.” Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, “We didn’t harm anyone. We are trying to stop harm.  We are not using this willy-nilly.”