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Somers Man Catches on Hidden Camera Police Officer Removing His Pro-Gun Sign

Screenshot taken from this forum on http://smith-wessonforum.com/ where the picture was posted.
Screenshot taken from this forum on http://smith-wessonforum.com/ where the picture was posted.
A Somers man who was determined to find out who was stealing pro-gun signs he had reportedly placed on his lawn is now seeking to sue the town of Somers for violating his free speech rights.  

The controversy began when Jon Gibson, who lives on Acacia Drive, placed a hidden camera and caught a Somers police officer removing his "Protect the Second Amendment" sign from his lawn. The story and images have since gone viral on the Internet. 

Gibson had set up the hidden camera after three separate signs he had placed were removed. To his surprise, the fourth sign was removed by a police officer on Monday, Sept. 23. 
  
"We were expecting a neighbor," Gibson's lawyer Richard Bombardo told Patch. "We were very, very surprised."

Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, though, said this was not an issue of free speech or gun rights, but rather an issue of town zoning. She said the sign had been placed on town-owned property and a local town code prohibits signs in the town's right of way – or 15 feet of either side of the road. She confirmed that two of the signs had been removed by a police officer after a neighbor complained. 

"A lot of people seem to think the [Somers] police officer went onto his property," Murphy said. "That's not the case. There is a lot of misinformation."

Murphy said Gibson had been previously warned by the town's building inspector Efrem Citarella after a neighbor complained and Gibson was asked to take down the sign. The violation is noted in a letter, dated Aug. 5, 2013.

"It has nothing to do with the content of the sign," Murphy said. "I'm a proponent of the Second Amendment myself. Police went out there as a response to complaints." 

Gibson, who was writing on a pro-gun website NYFirearms.com, documented what was going on. 

"I got a letter for being in violation of a town code," he wrote on the website. 

Gibson said he told the town's building inspector he would fight it in court on the grounds of his First Amendment rights and he was told to leave up the sign.

"A week or so later he called me back because the [expletive] neighbor cried again and I said that I'm leaving it up," Gibson wrote. "A day or so later my sign went missing." The sign vanished a second and third time before Gibson put up the trail camera. 

Gibson's lawyer Bombardo told Patch that the Somers police officer could be seen on camera to physically break the sign and "smiling as he is doing" it. He said the town's actions were a violation of Gibson's civil rights.

"It does not give them the right to walk on public property," Bombardo said. "It's his private property."

Bombardo said his client is weighing legal action and would most likely be pursuing charges against the town for trespassing, vandalism and theft. 

Murphy said the signs – like any other sign that is picked up – were not destroyed. Rather they are being stored at the Somers Highway Garage where the owner could pick them up. 

Editor's Note: The article was originally published on Sept. 26.
Harry One September 26, 2013 at 01:35 PM
HAY MARY BETH HAVE U REMOVED THE POLITICAL SIGNS ALL OVER SOMERS
Sick of the Lies September 27, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Richard Bombardo....a divorce and family law attorney. OK then. The town should be so very concerned about this threat of a lawsuit. If it happens, file a grievance against this attorney for a frivolous lawsuit.
Ct3408 September 27, 2013 at 07:02 AM
Wow, so now we are name-calling because of his legal background? Talk about a smoke screen. Let's stay focused on the facts - not YOUR attempt to deflect or redirect.
Tom September 27, 2013 at 08:19 AM
wow! the actual story is quite different from what was portrayed on the video. guess that is why i don't believe anyone nowadays. seems like everyone has an agenda and the facts get lost in the baloney.
Plamena Pesheva (Editor) September 27, 2013 at 09:40 AM
Tom, the YouTube video above was embedded on Patch so readers could see the images that were captured by the hidden camera. The video reflects only one person's views.
fairfield newcomer September 27, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Good for the cop, he better than most knows that there are many nut jobs who have access to firearms and just how dangerous weapons are in those people's hands.
Tom September 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM
yes i understand the video reflects one person's view. i guess i wasn't clear, i meant to say the "one person" has an agenda in this case. it's rare to get news nowadays without it being distorted by people's agendas even by many news organizations. i am old school, huntley and brinkley era and i can remember when the news was just reported as it happened. everything seems to be driven by anger and vitreol today, perhaps that is why nothing gets accomplished.
C Robin September 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM
WHO CARES!
C Robin September 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM
This guy has nothing to do obviously but GRIPE! BOOORING
Kyla Jones September 27, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Seems to me if the loon would just hang his litter on his own land, he'd have nothing to whine about. What is it about the nuts who have a tantrum whenever they're asked to follow the same laws as everybody else?
Ct3408 September 27, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Agreed, Kyla. Now the town, the cops, and the neighbors had better live by and apply the laws fairly and consistently, so that those we disagree with can be protected from those who are offended, the very foundation of free speech. Of course, based upon what we know, the law is not being applied fairly and this person is the victim of an unpopular view, at least by the neighbor, the town, and cop who perpetrated his own inappropriate act by making it personal and political, but not professional nor ethical, and likely not legal.
Smarterboy09 September 27, 2013 at 09:30 PM
You have to obey the law?!! OMG!! Even after they found out you were a gun freak? I guess they didn't get the memo that laws don't apply to gun nuts or right wing extremists. Oh well --
Cheryl September 27, 2013 at 10:22 PM
It seems that people who post signs in their yards promoting violence under the guise of "2nd Amendment rights" are not going to make many friends on his street. It's like a red light district and a hooker advertising her wares or the religious radicals filling their property with signs, etc. Most people want to live in a quiet neighborhood in their "castle" and don't want trouble. This guy sounds like he's got the chip on his shoulder and is daring someone to knock it off. I don't think there's too many people in this country that DON'T support the 2nd Amendment, just how loosely it's interpreted and the type of firepower that available these days to anybody who wants it without any kind of rules.
Patrick Crowley September 28, 2013 at 01:09 AM
"She said the sign had been placed on town-owned property and a local town code prohibits signs in the town's right of way – or 15 feet of either side of the road." I would like to know if this man is paying taxes on these 15 feet of the town's right of way. If he is paying taxes then he can use this property and the town can kiss is @ss as the town is denying him his right to use his property as he see's fit to use it! Time to take the town to court!
Ct3408 September 28, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Btw, Plamena, i know it's the rage right now is to use "pro-gun" for second amendment issues, but if we take that to its logical conclusion, then those of us who believe in reproductive rights for women should be labeled "pro-abortion," yet we don't do that. Lets stick to the issues and not take our own political agendas and insert them into articles.
arnie September 28, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Would this also apply to a little kids Lemonade sign?
JIM HOOD September 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM
I hope He doesn't forget to file a personal law suit against the officer for theft. Should He win one dollar, the rest will fold because the question of guilt is over, at least in my opinion.
Eric Eddy September 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM
If it's truly a zoning issue, then he cannot complain about theft because it's the same as leaving your stuff on the side of the road. You are surrendering your possessions when you do that. If he can prove that it is done with discrimination and malice, and not to maintain city ordinance, then he has some grounds. But otherwise, the best he can do is show up at town hall and speak out against the ordinance. How would he feel if he saw anti-gun signs all over public property?
Ct3408 September 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Lets hope that little Sally doesn't forget her toys or bobby his bike out on the lawn or the end of the driveway, or mom the car at the end of the driveway, they would all have to go. And frankly, public property is just that, public, thus the right to demonstrate, post signs, and speak out "in the public square" is our god given right, per our founders.
Danny Weil September 28, 2013 at 09:39 PM
This is news? What about police brutality and the police state? Not news. What rot.
Yorktown Native September 28, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Facts are facts. If any sign was placed within 15 feet of either side of the road, the law is the sign must be removed. In no way am I justifying the neighbor's actions; I personally feel there are much better ways to spend your time than tattling on neighbors, but to each his own. An ingenious idea: Put your sign closer to your house (16+ feet from the road) and save everyone the trouble of such nonsense.
John January 30, 2014 at 09:53 PM
The town does not own 15 ft from everyones property. Every survey is different, therefore, the town Supervisors statement is bogus just like the town codes and her political signs posted all over town by Mary Beth Murphy.

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