The mayor of a New Jersey town, Englewood Cliffs, responded to a Black Lives Matter protest with a bill requiring payment for officer overtime in the police presence at the organized event. Local resident Emily Gil, who planned and organized the protest, was told that in bringing up issues of affordable housing she was pressing a personal agenda and the mayor saw the event as private use of the area and as such should not be covered by residents tax dollars.

Controlling the occurrence of public protests has become common in the past decade as more organized groups take to the streets with civil unrest growing from issues with local governance. Although the legal and physical force has been common, Mayor Mario M. Kranjac intended to dissuade any further action from Emily Gil by charging almost twenty-five hundred dollars for the services of the police.

Kranjac’s actions have been received differently by members of the towns board and the greater state of New Jersey’s officials, including American Civil Liberties Union’s Jeanne LoCicero, who found the mayor’s behavior a clear violation in regard to inhibiting freedom of speech and punishing public right to opinion. Many on the town board are moving to quash the bill and have an apology issued by the mayor himself. When initially planning the protest, Emily Gil made frequent requests to speak with officials in person and over video conference but was never responded to. Any request to comment from Mayor Kranjac have not been replied to.