St. Paul, MN- State Representative Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, will introduce legislation today that would authorize governmental units to hold persons civilly liable to recover public safety response costs if the person is convicted of participating in an unlawful assembly.
“The right to assemble and protest is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Zerwas. “However, unlawful assemblies can incur substantial monetary costs for taxpayers due to local police, fire, and ambulance responses,” said Zerwas.
According to a complaint filed against individuals who staged a protest at the Mall of America in 2014, costs incurred by Bloomington taxpayers were in excess of $25,000 for the police presence needed to respond to the protest.
Additionally, during the Interstate 94 unlawful assembly in conjunction with the 4th Precinct protest in Minneapolis, twenty four law enforcement agencies from four counties were called in to assist the Minnesota State Patrol.
“It is my hope that this bill will save taxpayers money if such unlawful protests occur in the future.”