The New York City suburb of Nassau County passed a bill Monday that allows first responders and police officers to file lawsuits against people who harass, attack, or injure them because of their job.
The bill (pdf) was passed in a 12-6 vote by the county’s legislature. It still needs to be signed by County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, into law.
Curran told news outlets that she will look into the measure and told local news outlets she sent it to the county’s attorney general’s office for review. It’s not clear if she’ll sign it.
“I’m proud of the dedicated first responders who’ve made Nassau the safest County in America, and I will continue to stand against defunding the police. My administration is committed to protecting the brave men and women of law enforcement who keep us safe. There were many speakers today who questioned this legislation. Now that it has been passed by the Legislature, I will be making an inquiry to the Attorney General’s Office to review and provide some advice,” Curran said, reported News12.
The Epoch Times has contacted her office for comment.
Some Black Lives Matter affiliated groups said the bill is retaliation against the left-wing movement, and local media reported that about 200 protesters gathered at the legislature building to demonstrate against its passage.
“This bill is a clear act of retaliation against Black Lives Matter,” civil rights attorney Frederick Brewington told CBS New York. “This is trying to shut down and dampen and chill the voices of those who would dissent and raise their voices against abuse by police,” Brewington said.
Others said that the measure would create a police state in Nassau County.
“We are not anti-police. But what we are is anti-police state. That is not hyperbole. That is what this bill does,” said Emily Kaufman of Long Island Police Reform, according to Newsday.
The penalty for discriminating against an officer or first responder could be up to $25,000 per violation or $50,000 if the incident occurs when a defendant is participating in a riot, according to local media.
But police union officials have argued that members were being “targeted” because of their profession. And other supporters of the legislation said it would provide enhanced protection for officers amid anti-police riots and lawlessness following the death of George Floyd last year.
James McDermott, the head of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, said he and other officers “applaud the Nassau County legislature who continue to stand up for law and order and support our police during this unprecedented time,” reported Newsday.