Law & Order

County Approves Bill To Let Cops Sue Activists Who Harass Them

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The Nassau County Legislature voted 12 to 6 after a five-hour meeting on Monday to pass a bill to make first responders a protected class so they could sue activists and collect damages, and civil rights groups are furious.

Nearly 40 people spoke in opposition to the measure at legislature’s meeting on Aug. 2 before the bill passed, the Garden City Patch reported.

“There is no justification for violence against first responders,” Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan, the bill’s sponsor, said at the meeting. “And these bills will add further protections into law for Nassau County’s first responders as they protect us.”

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The newly-passed law made police officers and other first responders a protected class under the Nassau County Human Rights Law.

The new law made it a hate crime to “harass, menace, assault or injure” any first responder, the Levittown Patch reported.

And if that first responder is in uniform, the law says there is an “irrebuttable presumption” that they were targeted because of their profession.

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Lafazan introduced the bill in June in response to the Black Lives Matter protests last year and said “the recent widespread pattern of physical attacks and intimidation directed at police has undermined the rule of law and put all of our civil liberties in danger,” according to the Levittown Patch.

“As legislators, we have determined that there is urgent need to enhance the legal protections afforded to our law enforcement personnel and other first responders under the Nassau County human rights law,” Lafazan said.

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Under the proposed law, first responders could sue for damages, punitive damages, and legal fees, the Levittown Patch reported.

And if the incident occurred while the officer was responding to “a riot,” then the payout would be triple, according to the Garden City Patch.

The law further directed the county attorney to sue on behalf of the aggrieved first responder if the victim didn’t wish to pursue the action themselves.

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