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Posted on February 16, 2010

Richmond Mayor Responds to Church Shooting

RICHMOND, Calif. (KCBS) -- The mayor of Richmond has given an unequivocal thumbs down to a proposal to set up checkpoints in town to randomly search cars for drugs and weapons.

As authorities mull over a new theory that Sunday's church shooting was the result of a crosstown gang rivalry, city councilman Nathaniel Bates is proposing using random checkpoints to get criminals off the streets.

"You look inside, you search the car and there's a weapon," Bates said. "Hey, there's another gun off the street."

Click here for the radio broadcast of this report.

Bates said they did this in the past and it helped bring some peace to the violent neighborhoods of Richmond.

But Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said that proposal is illegal.

"The use of checkpoints is only permitted for traffic safety purposes. The U.S. and California Supreme Courts have specifically disallowed checkpoints to check for guns, other weapons or drugs," McLaughlin said.

Mayor McLaughlin said she understands the frustration of people in Richmond, who are more than fed up with brazen criminals who think nothing of entering a church during services, and shooting the place up.

But, she said violating civil rights isn't going to solve Richmond's problems.

Councilman Bates said he's more concerned with law-abiding citizens' rights to safety.

"I'm not about to start protecting the criminal activity," Bates said. "My responsibility is to try to protect the people who are law-abiding and keep them out of harm."



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