After a heated, five-hour public testimony interval, the legislature on Long Island voted 12-6 to place the invoice into regulation. It goes into impact instantly.
This regulation comes as states and localities attempt to put limits on the rights of protesters after greater than a yr of protests supporting the Black Lives Matter motion.
Several attorneys attending the listening to on Monday predicted the regulation could be challenged on constitutional grounds.
Fines on prime of potential damages from lawsuits
It states that first responders will have the ability to sue people they imagine harassed, injured, menaced or assaulted them as a result of their standing as a primary responder or whereas they have been in uniform, permitting them to gather compensatory damages, punitive damages, and legal professional’s charges.
The effective quantities are based mostly on earlier human rights laws within the county, during which fines can go as much as $50,000 for some offenses and as much as $100,000 for malicious acts, in response to the workplace of Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan, who authored the invoice.
The effective could be payable to the primary responder on prime of potential damages paid from a lawsuit.
Many of the audio system throughout public testimony famous the obscure language of what might or might not get them in hassle, saying the invoice was meant to focus on anybody who challenges the police.
Lafazan instructed CNN on Sunday criticism that the invoice targets a selected race or political ideology is “outrageous.”
“This bill, by protecting our first responders, helps guarantee every citizen’s fundamental right to freedom of speech without violence or intimidation,” he stated.
Nassau County listening to debates whether or not regulation enforcement ought to have extra safety
Monday’s listening to in Nassau County heard arguments from a wide range of stakeholders, together with a number of presidents from completely different police unions and activists from the realm.
“While facing anti-police sentiment under intense scrutiny, our officers time and time again conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism, which has earned them the respect of every community in Nassau County,” stated Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott.
“Nassau County law enforcement deserves the support of our elected officials, and every possible protection to keep them safe throughout the course of their duties. Any attempt to say otherwise disrespects all who wear the badge,” he stated.
But many countered that there was no want to provide the additional weight of economic penalties when police already maintain a lot energy.
“Police officers, if they are harassed, like one of the PBA [Police Benevolent Association] presidents said, they can arrest people,” Tracey Edwards, the NAACP Long Island director stated through the listening to. “They can use the law. That’s why we have legislation. We have wonderful police officers that can protect themselves. They do not need to have a human rights law to put them above all others. And that’s what you are doing.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union additionally argued in a press release that the regulation is probably unconstitutional in addition to an pointless safety.
“This bill would create a novel, dangerous, and unconstitutional ‘irrebuttable presumption’ that unlawful conduct directed at police and other first responders was motivated by hatred if the responder was in uniform at the time,” the group stated. “That means anyone accused under this law would face criminal sanctions, mandatory civil penalties, and civil suit damages without any opportunity to present evidence that they weren’t acting out of bias. In the criminal context, this is flatly unconstitutional.”
“These laws are misguided and counterproductive, as they undermine police-community relations, do nothing to improve first responder safety, and make a mockery of actual civil rights laws established to protect this Nation’s historically marginalized communities,” NYCLU added.