Lawmakers in Nassau County, New York — a county that encompasses a large swath of Long Island — approved a bill Monday that allows law enforcement officers to sue protesters who harass them about their job.
NBC News reports that the bill passed the county's legislature by a 12-6 vote.
County executive Laura Curran says she will seek an inquiry from the New York AG's office to "provide some advice" on the law.
"I'm proud of the dedicated first responders who've made Nassau the safest County in America, and I will continue to stand against defunding the police," Curran said. "My Administration is committed to protecting the brave men and women of law enforcement who keep us safe."
According to WCBS-TV, law enforcement officers could seek up to $25,000 per violation and up to $50,000 if the harassment occurs during a riot.
According to CNN, the bill sparked heated debate during the five-hour public testimony period prior to the vote. Critics argued that the law was unnecessary, given the officers already have the power to make arrests.
"What you are doing with this bill is you are taking this profession and you are putting that chosen profession above all of those people who fought during the Civil Rights movement," NAACP regional director Tracey Edwards said, according to NBC News.
Supporters of the law, including Brian Sullivan, president of Nassau County Correction Officers Benevolent Association, claimed the law was necessary to "widespread pattern of physical attacks and intimidation directed at the police."
The law is one of many passed in recent weeks that seek to increase punishments for those who take part in protests, particularly protests against police brutality. The new legislation comes a year after months of protests against racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police.