A New Jersey teen thought she was solely exercising her First Amendment proper when she organized a rally in assist of Black Lives Matter. Not lengthy after, she obtained a bill for thousands of dollars within the mail from the mayor, CBS New York reports.
The mayor has since mentioned he’s rescinding it.
Emily Gil, who’s 18, was impressed to carry a rally in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, this summer time after watching thousands of Americans present assist for the Black Lives Matter motion.
“It’s an issue we care about. And we notice these issues in our own town, so we can do something about it,” Gil mentioned.
She additionally needed to focus on an absence of inexpensive housing.
Gil mentioned she notified native officers in June in regards to the protest and even met with the police chief to iron out logistics. The protest went off with out a hitch on July 25 and lasted about 90 minutes.
Just a few days later, Gil mentioned she obtained a letter from Mayor Mario Kranjac, billing her for about $2,500 price of police overtime used in the course of the protest.
“I was shocked when I read that I had to pay to exercise my First Amendment right,” mentioned Gil. She thinks she was focused for her tackle inexpensive housing locally.
The mayor mentioned he’s the primary in a long time to fight the housing difficulty and had no drawback with the protest.
“And we made sure that we fulfilled and satisfied our obligation to make sure that they can exercise their freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble,” mentioned Mayor Kranjac.
Kranjac mentioned the borough has an ordinance in place that enables it to bill for any bills incurred for police providers at personal occasions. The bill despatched to Gil was commonplace protocol, he mentioned.
“We always bill… the bicycle race or running race or any other event, where our police are used, including utility work, people pay for the overtime,” mentioned the mayor.
He later mentioned, nevertheless, that he’s rescinding the bill, which he mentioned was issued pursuant to recommendation he obtained from the Borough Administrator who he understands consulted the Borough Attorney.
“I was told that all private events requiring police overtime should be paid for by the organizers. It was never intended as a fine, but rather as a fee,” he mentioned in an announcement to Gil that was despatched to CBS News.
“I have researched the issue further with my own counsel and I am hereby rescinding the bill, subject to our Council’s ratification of my action,” mentioned Kranjac. “I always want to make certain that everyone’s Constitutional Rights are fully respected. We will have to adjust the Borough’s ordinances accordingly.”
He mentioned he was glad Gil was capable of specific her rights to freedom of speech and meeting and wished her success in her school profession.
“I continue to work on resolving the Borough’s affordable housing obligations and hope that this Council will adopt some form of the affordable housing plan that I introduced in 2018,” he added.