The mayor of a northern New Jersey Town rescinded a bill for police overtime reportedly totaling $2,500 that was sent to the teenaged organizer of a Black Lives Matter rally last month.
Mayor Mario Kranjac of Englewood Cliffs confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday that he rescinded the bill, providing no additional comment.
Emily Gil, 18, received the invoice Friday, with the claim that she failed to properly warn authorities in advance about the July 25 event, NJ.com reported. Gil believed that a shortage of affordable housing options in her neighborhood was a racial issue and should be brought to the public’s attention through a 30- to 40-person protest.
Gil later received a bill for police overtime costs that officials say the protest incurred.
A civil liberties advocate called the move “shocking.”
In response to the fine she received, Gil said she complained to Englewood Cliffs Police Chief William Henkelman, arguing the event did not require extra services by the police and that each demonstrator who attended discarded their own trash properly.
The chief responded by notifying Gil that he informed the borough of the “extensive preparation required and the additional staffing that was needed, including overtime expenses,” the publication reported Friday.
WLNY-TV reported that Kranjac said in another letter that he rescinded the bill after reviewing the local ordinance he had cited earlier.
“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,” Kranjac said.
Kranjac earlier told NJ Advance Media that protesters’ rights of free speech and assembly were respected, and that Gil was wrong to link affordable housing to her protest.
“As with any privately-sponsored event that takes place in the borough requiring police safety, 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,” Kranjac said.
Fox News' Caitlin McFall and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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