Nassau Police Community Oversight Task Force opposes bill that would allow police to sue civilly

Jovanni Ortiz, with the Nassau Police Community Oversight Task Force, is among those disappointed that the Nassau Legislature voted to pass the police protection bill Monday night.

News 12 Staff

Aug 3, 2021, 10:12 PM

Updated 988 days ago

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A controversial bill passed in Nassau that would allow police to sue protesters who harass or injure them is facing criticism from some community members.
Jovanni Ortiz, with the Nassau Police Community Oversight Task Force, is among those disappointed that the Nassau Legislature voted to pass the police protection bill Monday night.
The bill would make Nassau police officers and other first responders a protected class under the county's human rights law. Nassau correction officers would also be protected.
"We believe it really is an unconstitutional piece of legislation," says Ortiz. "If any incident happens where you're perceived to assault or harass a law enforcement official, you may face a lawsuit of up to $50,000."
The bill does have the support of law enforcement unions, including the PBA. James McDermott, president of the PBA, tells News 12 it would be good for his membership, and he does plan to have a conversation with the Nassau County executive.
Some say the bill is too vague in what constitutes harassment of an officer.
Former prosecutor and current professor at Hofstra Law Fred Klein says, "The language covers things like harassment, discrimination, menacing, all of which have specific definitions under the criminal law, so I'm not too concerned about the language being too broad."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says she wants the state attorney general to review the bill.
"I'm really proud of the work they have done. It's not an accident that we're the safest community in America," says Curran.
Curran says she is talking to as many people as she can to review the bill before she makes a decision to sign it. Curran has 30 days to sign the bill into law.


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