In July, 18-year-old Emily Gil organized a small Black Lives Matter rally in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Days later, the teen was billed for “police overtime” from Mayor Mario M. Kranjac. NJ Advance Media reports that after media attention, Kranjac has rescinded the bill.
The teen organized the rally to protest her community’s lack of affordable housing, according to NJ Advance Media. On July 25, around 30 people attended the peaceful event on a Saturday morning. Four days after the rally, Gil received the bill.
“Please promptly forward your payment to the borough in the amount of $2,499.26 for the police overtime caused by your protest,” Kranjac wrote in a letter to Gil, which was provided to NJ Advance Media. The letter also suggested that Gil donate some of her time volunteering at a local food bank.
According to the letter, Gil was fined due to her lack of notification regarding the protest, which the letter stated needed private security. Borough officials requested to meet with Gil in person, but she declined due to coronavirus concerns. When she offered to meet them via Zoom, they didn’t accept.
Gil believes that the bill was tied to her pro-affordable housing stance. She told NJ Advance Media, “Englewood Cliffs is trying to intimidate and silence people who are standing up for Black Lives Matter and the implementation of affordable housing.”
Mayor: ‘Bill Was Mistakenly Issued’
According to ABC6, Gil alerted Kranjac about the rally beforehand. “He said, ‘So now that you’ve alerted me that this is going on, I’m going to have to send the police to you.’ So it wasn’t something that I specifically requested. It was something that he imposed on me,” she stated.
This week, Kranjac announced he has rescinded the bill.
“The bill was mistakenly issued based on advice I received from our borough administrator who I understand consulted the borough attorney,” Kranjac told NJ Advance Media. “I was told that all private events requiring police overtime should be paid for by the organizers. That advice was incorrect.”
Gil spoke to ABC6 about the latest update, saying she was relieved but never received an apology.
“He didn’t apologize … he also tried to excuse what he did, by saying it was the advice of the borough administrator that led him to give me a fee,” Gil said to ABC6. “And I’m feeling like that doesn’t make any sense. Because what he sent me wasn’t even an official fine, or a fee. It was just a letter.”