NJ Teen Gets $2,500 ‘Police Overtime’ Bill for Leading Peaceful BLM Protest, Mayor Steps In
A New Jersey mayor is backing down on the “police overtime bill” issued to a teenager for organizing a Black Lives Matter protest rally after getting public backlash.
A democratic exercise: Back in July, Emily Gil led a peaceful demonstration in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to protest the lack of affordable housing in Bergen County.
The 18-year-old reportedly felt that things had to change for the Black residents who are being priced out, reports NJ Advance Media.
“Englewood Cliffs has dodged affordable housing requirements for 40-plus years,” Gil was quoted as saying.
Gil, who recently graduated from Bergen County Technical School, said she found the decades-long problem “unacceptable.”
Held next to police headquarters on July 25, the protest was attended by about 30 people.
While Gil had alerted officials about her protest, she noted that there was hardly any police presence in the area during the event.
Charged for overtime: A few days after the rally, Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario Kranjac sent Gil a bill amounting to $2,500, noting that her protest caused the borough that much to provide security.
In an interview with WPVI, Gil noted that the bill not only shocked her but also offended her due to the condescending tone of the letter.
“Please promptly forward your payment to the borough in the amount of $2,499.26 for the police overtime caused by your protest,” the mayor wrote in a letter.
According to Kranjach, Gil’s refusal to meet with officials before the event left the borough with “little time to prepare.”
He noted that the police department and department of public works needed time to ensure public safety.
Gil said the police presence was never asked and was simply imposed on the protest.
“He said, ‘So now that you’ve alerted me that this is going on, I’m going to have to send the police to you.’ So it wasn’t something that I specifically requested. It was something that he imposed on me,” she argued.
Backing off: Following overwhelming criticism, Kranjac wrote to Gil once more to state that he is now rescinding the bill, saying he always wants to ensure “everyone’s Constitutional Rights are fully respected.”
While the mayor also promised to adjust the “Borough’s ordinances” he didn’t include an apology to Gil.
“He also tried to excuse what he did, by saying it was the advice of the borough administrator that led him to give me a fee,” Gil said. “What he sent me wasn’t even an official fine, or a fee. It was just a letter.”
In response to the mayor’s decision, Democratic Council members released this statement: “After causing a national outcry against his tyrannical, blatantly unconstitutional and deeply immoral behavior, Mayor Mario Kranjac is now apparently backing off his demand for a local teenage activist to pay thousands of dollars for organizing a small, peaceful protest against racism.”
Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.
Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.
However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.
We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.