A Black Lives Matter organizer has been slapped with a $2,500 bill to cover police overtime costs after she set up a protest at the end of July, according to a report.
Emily Gil, 18, who graduated in June from Bergen County Technical School, failed to properly warn authorities in advance about the event, NJ.com reported.
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Gil believed that the expensive house prices in her neighborhood was a racist issue that should be brought to the public’s attention through a 30- to 40-person Black Lives Matter protest, according to NJ.com.
Four days after the protest, Gil received a bill for police overtime costs that officials say they incurred.
“Please promptly forward your payment to the borough in the amount of $2,499.26 for the police overtime caused by your protest,” Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario M. Kranjac wrote in a letter.
Fox reports: The letter explained that Gil’s refusal to meet with officials left the Englewood Cliffs Police Department scrambling to provide security for the event, prompting overtime work for several officers.
“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 wrote, according to the news outlet.
Gil reportedly claimed she did not feel comfortable meeting with the officals in person due to the coronavirus, and asked if a Zoom meeting could be held instead. She said the request was denied.
“They kept pushing (an in-person meeting) and then they stopped responding to me,” Gil told NJ.com.
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 had informed the borough of the “extensive preparation required and the additional staffing that was needed, including overtime expenses,” the publication reported Friday.
Gil said the mayor had not responded to her email sent more than two weeks earlier, questioning the “legitimacy of the bill.”
The Republican mayor did, however, respond to NJ.com’s inquiry.
“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.”
The mayor suggested that the protest was a “private event” and therefore billable.
UPDATE: CBS reports the bill has now been rescinded.
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