Nassau County lawmakers to vote on bill allowing police to sue protesters

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Lawmakers in Nassau County, New York, are slated to vote on a bill Monday that would allow law enforcement and other first responders to sue protesters for damages up to $50,000.

The bill would allow attorneys for the Long Island county to sue protesters on behalf of officers or first responders who file complaints alleging harassment or injuries by protesters while they were in uniform, according to the June 3 proposal from the county.

"There is no justification for violence against law enforcement officers," Josh Lafazan, an independent legislator who sponsored the measure, told Long Island News 12. "And these bills will add further protections in law to protect Nassau County’s finest as they protect us."

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An attorney for the county would serve as a lawyer for first responders. People could be held to a civil penalty of no more than $25,000 per violation to an "aggrieved" first responder, the bill states.

If a violation happens "in the course of a riot," the penalty could be increased up to $50,000, the bill text adds.

Activists have decried the proposal as a retaliation against Black Lives Matter protests that ensued following several high-profile deaths of black people while in police custody, particularly the killing of George Floyd last May for which former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts.

Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability urged legislators to vote against the bill during a press conference on Friday.

"This bill would hijack the Human Rights Law and penalize 'discrimination' against a police officer more harshly than 'discrimination' against groups that have historically faced persecution and discrimination in our country," the group wrote in a statement.

Not all lawmakers are on board with the proposal, including Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe, a Democrat.

"Human rights laws are designed to protect people who have been historically discriminated against because of unchangeable personal characteristics such as the color of their skin," Bynoe told CNN on Sunday.

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The proposal is scheduled for a vote Monday. If enacted, the legislation would take effect immediately.

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Tags: News, New York, Police, Protests, lawsuit, Legislation

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Nassau County lawmakers to vote on bill allowing police to sue protesters

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