A Black Lives Matter supporter was ordered to pay the city nearly $2,500 “for the police overtime” caused by the protest she had organized.
18-year-old Emily Gil from New Jersey is a young activist who organized a BLM protest, in which she also touched the topic of the alleged lack of affordable housing in the area, that took place next to the police headquarters in Englewood Cliffs.
While the demonstration was attended by just some thirty people, Gil was shocked to receive a letter from Englewood Cliffs mayor in which she was ordered to pay almost $2,500 “for the police overtime caused” by her protest.
“Please promptly forward your payment to the borough in the amount of $2,499.26 for the police overtime caused by your protest,” Mayor Mario M. Kranjac demanded in the letter according to NJ Advance Media.
According to the letter obtained by the news outlet, Gil failed to meet with the city officials to discuss the plans for the protest, causing the authorities to scramble to come up with a security plan in time.
“Your lack of notification left the borough with little time to prepare for your protest so that the police department and department of public works could ensure that everyone would be safe,” the mayor’s letter added.
Speaking of the controversial letter and the city’s decision to make her pay for security expenses, Gil insisted she wanted to meet with officials via Zoom due to coronavirus concerns. Allegedly, however, her request was denied and the authorities stopped responding to her.
“I was shocked when I read the letter. I felt a little disrespected because the tone of the letter was kind of condescending,” the teen told WPVI-TV.
As NJ Advance Media reported, Gil also insisted that “Englewood Cliffs is trying to intimidate and silence people who are standing up for Black Lives Matter and the implementation of affordable housing.”
After the incident went viral, Mayor Kranjac maintained his stance and assured the public that “First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble were fully honored by the borough.”
As he added, however, “an invoice was sent to the organizer for police overtime since it would be unfair to require our residents to financially support a private event.”