Nassau County Executive Curran vetoes bill that would let police sue protesters

The bill would have made Nassau police officers and other first responders a protected class under the county's human rights law.

News 12 Staff

Aug 10, 2021, 11:06 PM

Updated 1,069 days ago


Nassau County Executive Laura Curran vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have let police sue protesters who harass or injure them, citing constitutionality concerns.
The bill would have made Nassau police officers and other first responders a protected class under the county's human rights law. Nassau correction officers would have also been protected. Police would have been able to sue protesters with fines ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.
Curran issued a statement saying, "I'm proud of the dedicated first responders who've made Nassau the safest county in America, and I continue to stand firmly with the brave men and women of law enforcement, and against any efforts to 'defund the police.' The guidance provided by the New York State Attorney General raises issues about the constitutionality of the proposed law, which would inhibit residents' rights to free speech and protest. The proposed bill is well-intentioned but should not come at the costs of the basic First Amendment freedoms that we all enjoy as Americans."
Critics such as the National Urban League were calling on Curran to veto the bill, saying it was too vague in what constitutes harassment of an officer.
Legislator Josh Lafazan sponsored the bill. Lafazan responded to the veto saying, "The intent of this bill was always to protect those first responders who protect us here in Nassau. As a lawmaker I of course respect the opinion of NY's Attorney General Tish James. Therefore, I respect the county executive's decision to veto this bill based on the AG's guidance and will not vote to override County Executive Curran. Over the past week, I've had the opportunity to speak with community leaders regarding their concerns over the bill. My hope is to now continue conversations with the community and our first responders to ensure Nassau remains both a safe and a fair county for us all."
The measure had support of law enforcement unions, including the PBA.
Nassau County PBA President James McDermott issued a statement saying, ""We are very disappointed in the actions of County Executive Curran vetoing a piece of legislation that was created in direct response to the increase in discrimination and violence toward our membership in the last few years. Incidents of first responders being menaced and harassed have gone up considerably in the last few years and the county executive has sided against the Legislature and against police officers and others who perform their jobs in harm's way. Our membership is in full support of anyone who wishes to express themselves in a peaceful, nonviolent fashion."

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