Relations between protesters and police have been more strained than ever in recent years, particularly amid the Black Lives Matter movement which fights against police brutality within the black community.
Police have been accused of wrongfully arresting, abusing, harassing and even killing protesters that are seeking social justice. Adding insult to injury, a Minnesota lawmaker just proposed a bill that would force activists who are convicted of unlawful assembly or disturbing the peace to pay for police costs.
Republican State Rep. Nick Zerwas claims it’s unfair for taxpayers to pay the cost of sending police to monitor protests. This sentiment seems odd, considering protesters are taxpayers too.
This proposed bill comes months after protests were held throughout Minneapolis following the shooting death of a black man named Jamar Clark by police.
Zerwas insists that the bill would not “discourage lawful protests,” although it is highly plausible that it would.
Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota pointed out that this bill has the potential to stifle free speech.
“What this would do is chill free speech by various groups, particularly groups that aren't wealthy," Samuelson reportedly told KARE. "What he's trying to do is unconstitutional.”
"There's nobody to guarantee that they're not trying to bankrupt people who have unpopular opinions, and to shut them up that way," he added.
Let’s just hope that this bill gets nipped in the bud as it would surely create an unfair burden on the marginalized groups that are protesting for legislation and social change that would benefit their communities.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @jennychawla_