A proposed law in Nassau County, Long Island would allow cops to sue protesters for harassment if they “seriously annoy” them while they’re on duty.
The controversial measure, approved 12-6 by county lawmakers Monday, would allow first-responders to sue protesters and others who give them a hard time or threaten to cause them bodily harm, Fox News reported.
The proposal from the GOP-led county board comes in the wake of last summer’s widespread clashes between police and Black Lives Matter protesters following the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The bill still needs to go before County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat seeking re-election, who said she would consult with the state Attorney General’s Office before making a call on the proposal.
“I’m proud of the dedicated first responders who’ve made Nassau the safest county in American, and I will continue to stand against defunding the police,” Curran said in a statement, according to the Fox report.
The bill condemns “organized mob violence,” saying it undermines the foundations of law, democracy, and ordered liberty, and severely impairs the ability of citizens to engage in peaceful protest.”
The bill cites state law that identifies harassment as an attempt “to alarm or seriously annoy” another individual — in this case cops and first responders.
It also stipulates that the measure does not “excuse or minimize the gravity of incidents of police misconduct that have occurred in this country.”
If signed by Curran, Nassau cops would be allowed to sue for up to $20,000 for each harassment violation and up to $50,000 if they occur during a “riot.”
More than 200 people crammed the county legislature’s chambers Monday before the bill was voted on — with some questioning the motive, and legality, of the measure.
“This bill is a clear act of retaliation against Black Lives Matter,” civil rights attorney Frederick Brewington told CBS News. “This is trying to shut down and dampen and chill the voices of those who would dissent and raise their voices against abuse by police.”