The police commissioner says he’s considering a proposal by Community Board 1 recommending a change of venue for the upcoming terror trial.
Last night, the community board voted unanimously to oppose the planned location of the so-called terror trials, including the prosecution of self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11th terrorist attacks Khalid Sheik Mohammed. The trial is set to take place at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan.
Instead, the board proposed the use of Governors Island, a former military detention and arms facility, as the location for the trial.
Lower Manhattan residents say the increased security for the trials, which could take several years, would be disruptive for the community. About $200 million in federal security funds has been set aside for increased security for the trials.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today that while 500 Pearl Street is the planned location, Governors Island may be an option.
“We certainly are open to that suggestion,” said Kelly. “We understand that the trials can be very disruptive in the Lower Manhattan community and we’re obviously concerned about the threat to the entire city. But, again, we were not part of the decision-making process. The decision was made in Washington and thrust on us. I can understand [the residents’ concerns]. We’ll see what happens. But we’re going on with our planning as if the trial will take place in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse.”
The planning includes the setting of hard and soft-security zones.
The soft zone includes Canal Street to the north, Frankfort Street to the south, the Bowery to the east and Broadway to the west. There will be mounted officers patrolling this area. And while pedestrians can come and go as they please, there will be unannounced vehicle checks.
The hard zone, the area immediately around the court house, will include Worth Street to the north, Centre Street to the west, Pearl Street to the east, and Madison Street to the south. In that zone, there will be metal barriers and only a half-dozen entry points to allow in local residents, workers, and media.
According to the police commissioner, biological and radiological sensors will be set up within the perimeter.
Moreover, he says Congress will be given 45 days’ notice of when the indictment of the terror suspects will be taking place and of course, when their movement to the city will occur.