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Teen billed for police overtime after BLM rally

People hold a sign as they take part in a joint LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter march on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, New York, U.S. June 28, 2020.Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

BLM protests have been held across the US

A teenager who organised a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in the US state of New Jersey was asked to pay nearly $2,500 (£1,900) in police overtime costs, US media report.

Emily Gil, 18, said she organised the action to support US anti-racism protests and highlight issues with affordable housing in her community.

But she was shocked to later receive a bill from the local mayor.

The mayor told BBC partner CBS that he was now rescinding the charges.

Ms Gil said the peaceful protest in the borough of Englewood Cliffs on 25 July lasted about 90 minutes and was attended by only 30 to 40 people.

She said she did not know the event would incur any charges until she received a letter demanding payment days later.

“I was shocked when I read that I had to pay to exercise my First Amendment right,” she told CBS.

Englewood Cliffs Mayor Mario Kranjac said the borough had the right to charge for police services at private events.

“We always bill…the bicycle race or running race or any other event, where our police are used, including utility work, people pay for the overtime,” he told CBS.

He later said, however, that he was rescinding the bill, adding that he wanted to “make certain that everyone’s Constitutional Rights are fully respected.”

He said he had no issue with the protest and that he is working to combat issues with affordable housing.

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