Emily Gil's social conscience could cost her $2,500. The New Jersey 18-year-old organized a small protest last month over the scarcity of affordable housing in her hometown, NJ.com reports. Black people especially are shut out, she said. "Englewood Cliffs has dodged affordable housing requirements for 40-plus years," Gil said. "I find that unacceptable." Her rally drew 30 people or so, she said, who picked up their own trash afterward. The demonstration was peaceful. Days later, she received a letter from the mayor. "Please promptly forward your payment to the borough in the amount of $2,499.26 for the police overtime caused by your protest," Mario Kranjac wrote. Gil said she objected to the bill in an email but hasn't received a response.
City officials said the problem is that Gil wouldn't meet with them before the demonstration, per NJ.com, which left them insufficient time to plan security. Gil said they wanted to meet in person, which she didn't want to do because of the coronavirus, and officials wouldn't accept a Zoom session. Kranjac argued her premise about affordable housing, which he said he supports. "Everyone is welcome in Englewood Cliffs," the mayor said. Gil said "it was because of my pro-affordable housing stance that Mr. Kranjac handled the situation this way," while the mayor said it's standard to charge for security provided by police. "It would be unfair to require our residents to financially support a private event," he said. (Read more Black Lives Matter stories.)