(NEW YORK, NY, 8/10/2021) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to veto Local Law 187-21, an anti-free speech bill passed last week in the Nassau County Legislature.
Local Law 187-21 declares it unlawfully “discriminatory” to harass, menace, or assault a police officer or first responder.
The proposed legislation protects police and first responders as a class based on profession and declares an “irrebuttable presumption” of discrimination if the civilian act occurs while the first responder is in uniform. Penalties can reach up to $50,0000. On August 2, 2021, the Nassau County legislature passed the bill, and it now waits on Executive Curran to either veto it or sign it into law.
SEE: Nassau County Legislature Passes Controversial Bill Allowing Police To Sue Protesters
CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher stated:
“Local Law 187-21 is a dangerous threat to those engaged in constitutionally-protected free speech. It was obviously intended to chill the actions of protesters seeking police reform. By threatening civilians with steep civil penalties for discriminatorily ‘harassing’ a police officer, especially without any evidence of intent to discriminate, gives law enforcement a level of protection higher than the civilians they are charged with protecting. Even hate crimes require substantial proof of discriminatory intent.
“We call on Executive Curran to veto the legislation. Police officers already wield an immense amount of power over civilians. In recent Black Lives Matter protests, we have seen civilian protesters endure tear gas and even physical assaults for daring to be vocal against injustice. Our elected officials should be among the first to amplify the people’s right to protest without further intimidation.”
CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: Afaf Nasher, CAIR-NY Executive Director, 917-669-4006, firstname.lastname@example.org