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.

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. (Credit: CBS2)

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.

Comments (24)
  1. Dave Hardesty says:

    Looks like teir 1st Amendment rights have been violated to me. They were not promoting violence or racism.

  2. golf6255 says:

    This country is going crazy and in some cities, committing suicide.

  3. tngilmer says:

    MLK would have despised BLM. Dr. King believed in a color blind society.

  4. The solution seems to be simple. Decorate it for the season and put it back up.

  5. Stephen Gill says:

    They are lucky. I got a citation for not separating my recycling material correctly!!!

  6. John Dendy says:

    The town is run by commies

  7. Tony Smith says:

    The family directly across the street should put up a huge banner from Forest Gump. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  8. jabusse says:

    If this guy wins maybe, just maybe others can hang an american flag which is also banned.

  9. DeeJay says:

    Co-founder BLM states that she’s an organizer and a trained Marxist. This isn’t about race.

    1. DeeJay says:

      It did not accept the link to my post..so find it at nationalfile(dot) com if you want to hear it for yourself.

    2. confuse9 says:

      You say it isn’t about race, but I suspect you are in fact being racist.
      1) The sign doesn’t mention BLM. Just Martin Luther King.
      2) King was a preacher – Communism doesn’t allow for religion (religion contributes to the slavery of the masses. “Be quiet, and get your reward in the next life”.) Unless you are talking about the type of Communism Jesus practiced… then I guess maybe.
      3) You attack BLM by attacking “one of the founders”. So you are killing the message by going after the messenger. Invalid ad hominem attack.
      4) You are getting your information from an extreme right wing web page. Seems the page is trying to cherry pick stories and take things either completely wrong, or out of context.

      I would invite you to get to know people that are different then you (not just in skin color). Ignorance leads to fear. Well, not to worry, we have Trump to fix everything.

      Ever notice Trump is like the school kid that didn’t do his homework and gets called upon by the teacher… “Yeah, I know lots about the American Revolution. It was in America and it was Revolutionary. I’m an expert on that”

      1. Oracle says:

        Yeah, right. “Ever notice” that any time people bash Trump, it’s because he’s done something to get rid of another braindead demorrhoid action that screwed things up more in the country? The louder you people squeal, the more I’m convinced I voted for the right man for the job. GET OVER IT, LOSER.

      2. Armida Frankini says:

        You’re very confused. Christianity demands we fight for justice in this life. Stop telling us what we believe.

      3. Dave Hardesty says:

        The only one promoting racial hate here is you. King was not a racist, he was not a founder of BLM which started long after his death and Jesys/God is not and never will be Communist.

  10. Joe Citizen says:

    Put up an “Arbeit mach Frei” sign and see what happens. Guess the content overrules the action since they plan to knucle under. Selective governing. Take it down Mr. Brown.

  11. Joe says:

    Just put up a banner that says ‘Thug Life’ and maybe they’ll shut up.

  12. Aero Felis says:

    Good… whitey needs to stop apologizing

    1. Oracle says:

      THIS “whitey” DOESN’T “apologize”. I have nothing to apologize FOR.

      1. Dave Hardesty says:

        This ‘whitey’ does. I apologize to all races for the stupid virtue signaming whites that have nothing to apologize for and have detested all forms of racism for their entire lives. God/Jesus has never been racist. He who created all races of humanity can’t be racist.

  13. Mr. Rand says:

    Tyrants are everywhere. They operate on their current whims. The do not know what first principles are, what natural rights are or what the constitution rights are, and they make outrageous threats. That said, Dr. King’s quote is quite correct and directly applies to the government threatening the residents with outrageous fines. On the other hand, the conduct that goes with the appearance of BLM is terroristic felonious vandalism, felony theft, and felony assault. Even though BLM appears to be independent local groups there has to be an underlying organizations that produces the terrorism, which should result in BLM being declared a terrorist organization.

  14. Justdoit says:

    should just leave it up, should be covered by the 1st, but can be a pain to fight.

    1. Unlessround IsFunny says:

      Towns are allowed to regulate signage without violating the first amendment. They just need to do it without regard for the content of the sign. The first amendment doesn’t give citizens the right to put up whatever size banner they want. If that were the case, zoning laws couldn’t exist. But they do, and local government fiefdoms love enforcing them.

      1. confuse9 says:

        Although lax enforcement might make a case that they are infact banning for content. Why this sign and why now.

        Most signage laws talk about permanent signs. Check the laws and see if you can keep it up for 30 days etc.

        Also, sometimes there are issues about location. Maybe you can’t put it up in the front yard, but you can hang it on the house or fly it from a flag pole.

        Heck, might be able to paint it on the side of the house if you are so inclined.

      2. Dave Hardesty says:

        Selective enforcement of zoning laws that cover singage like this is illegal. If it was a public safety hazard that’s one thing. What about ‘God Bless America, on a small sign that does not affect public safety? Should it be banned?

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