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SOMERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Somers man claims the town’s police department violated his right to free speech when they removed a pro-gun sign from his property.
Jon Gibson said he set up a hidden camera at his home after other signs had disappeared from his front lawn and caught an officer removing the placard.
“My client’s rights have been severely damaged, his federal civil rights have been violated,” attorney Richard Bombardo told 1010 WINS.
Town officials and police said the sign violated a zoning ordinance prohibiting signs within the town’s right of way and has nothing to do with free speech or gun rights.
Bombardo said the town is trying to cover their tracks.
“It is our position that the town is just trying to come up with an excuse to cover their deliberate action to take down the sign,” Bombardo said. “What they did was decided they didn’t like his sign for whatever reason, we believe because it was the content of the message which makes this a very troubling situation, and rather than give him a formal court citation they just ripped it down.”
Officials said Gibson had been warned to take down the signs before it was done for him.
A town supervisor told the Journal News that Gibson’s signs are in good condition and he can come pick them up.
Bombardo has yet to file a complaint with the police department, but said he is planning on filing a lawsuit “challenging this as serious misconduct and to try to get an order to prohibit this from happening in the future.”
The police department claims they have received numerous threats and vulgar comments from people all across the country after Gibson posted the video of the officer removing the sign on the Internet, the Journal News reported.
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