Emily Gil, 18, of New Jersey organized a Black Lives Matter rally in July and was sent a bill for nearly $2,500 from officials for police overtime. The mayor has since rescinded the bill after state legislators called for an investigation.
Gil set up a Black Lives Matter demonstration, demanding an increase in affordable housing in Engelwood Cliffs and she also criticized the city for pricing out Black residents. Approximately 30 people showed up. Gil says everyone cleaned up the after the protest, which is why the recent high school graduate was surprised to receive a letter from the city’s mayor, Mario M. Kranjac, demanding $2,499.26 for police overtime.
“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 letter obtained by NJ Advance Media states.
Gil maintained that her attempts to meet with city officials ahead of the protest mostly went unanswered after she put in a request for a meeting through Zoom.
“As with any privately-sponsored event that takes place in the borough requiring police safety, an invoice was sent to the organizer for police overtime since it would be unfair to require our residents to financially support a private event,” Mayor Kranjac told NJ Advance Media.
Initially, Gil was unable to get in touch with Kranjac. However, she was able to get in touch with Englewood Cliffs Police Chief William Henkelman. According to Henkelman, the bill was to accommodate “additional staffing,” which included overtime pay.
Once state legislators caught wind of the bill, they called for an investigation. Shortly thereafter, Kranjac sent her a note canceling what he called a “fee.”
“Which makes no sense because it wasn’t an official fee,” Gil said. “Again, it was a letter. He also didn’t apologize to me which is infuriating.”