A New Jersey 18-year-old has been billed nearly $2,500 in police overtime costs after she organized a Black Lives Matter rally in her town over affordable housing.
NJ Advance Media first reportedon the woman, Emily Gil, who said she got the bill earlier this month from Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario M. Kranjac for $2,499.26 “for the police overtime caused by your protest.”
Gil said she held the protest because the city has “dodged affordable housing requirements for 40-plus years,” calling it “unacceptable.”
According to the report, she received a letter alongside her bill that said because she did not meet with city officials before holding the protest, they had to scramble to find police to work overtime for the event.
But Gil says she did not want to meet in person over coronavirus concerns and her offer for a virtual meeting with officials was rejected. She also alleges that city officials stopped responding to her communications and she still hasn’t heard from the mayor after also reaching out to him about the bill.
Gil said only 30 or 40 people joined the rally, which was peaceful and caused no disturbances. She says protesters also picked up their trash.
She told the outlet she also reached out to the local police chief about the overtime bill. Englewood Cliffs Police Chief William Henkelman responded that he had complained to the mayor of the additional staffing needed and “extensive preparation.”
Kranjac told NJ Advance Media that protesters’ First Amendment rights were fully respected by the city and police, but slammed Gil over her comments on affordable housing.
“Ms. Gil is misinformed when she links our affordable housing issues with her protest, and she is wrong when she writes that I voted against affordable housing,” the mayor told the publication. “Everyone is welcome in Englewood Cliffs.”