EASTCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A family in Westchester County says they were forced to take down a banner on their property with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
They believe they’re being unfairly targeted, but the town disagrees.
The banner reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
It used to hang over the Brown family’s bay window in Eastchester above several yard signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I had the big sign for a reason because this needs to be prominent. I want people to see this because this needs to stay in the forefront of everyone’s mind right now,” Avisia Brown said.
The banner with the quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was up for nearly two weeks, the family says, until they happened to find a violation letter from the town in the dirt near their front steps.
It says banners are prohibited signs under local law.
If they did not comply with taking it down, the letter threatened a $1,000 fine or jail time.
“It seemed like we were being targeted by a neighbor or by the town because of its content,” Brown said.
The Brown family pointed out different banners and signs are up all over town, including a graduation banner across the street.
The family also says they’ve never gotten in trouble for similar banners they’ve hung for Halloween, but the town supervisor says holiday decorations are exempt from the law.
The town supervisor admits they are lenient with enforcement of this decades-old law, but in this case, they received complaints from neighbors about the banner.
The supervisor says it wasn’t just the Brown’s banner. They ordered five other properties to take down their banners, too, including a Trump sign.
As for the Browns, the supervisor says he supports the banner’s message and notes the family is allowed to keep up their similar yard signs.
The family says they did reach out to the town and were finally told the matter was referred to the town lawyer. They just hope the law changes so they can again hang up their banner.
The supervisor says he has ordered a review so the law can be updated.