Somers Police Get Death Threats After Pro-Gun Sign Photos Go Viral

  • Comments (33)
A Somers police officer determined the pro-gun sign to be on town property and in violation of the right-of-way code. Photo Credit: Jon Gibson/NYFirearms.com
TheBlaze reported Monday night that Jon Gibson, of Lake Lincolndale, was “fed-up after his pro-gun sign was removed from his front yard for a third time.” Photo Credit: Jon Gibson/NYFirearms.com

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Police Department is receiving national attention after a resident videotaped an officer removing a “Protect The 2nd Amendment” sign from his front yard.

Somers Police Chief Michael Driscoll told The Daily Voice the department has received hundreds of phone calls and emails from around the country “screaming that the incident is a violation of rights.”

The story went viral Tuesday morning after TheBlaze reported Monday night that Jon Gibson, of Lake Lincolndale, was “fed-up after his pro-gun sign was removed from his front yard for a third time.” He reacted by setting up a hidden camera for the fourth sign to see who was taking them away. When the footage revealed it was a Somers police officer who removed it, he posted the freeze-frame pictures onto NYFirearms.com

“Very strange turn of events … and I’m not quite sure where to go with this now,” Gibson posted onto the forum. “[It’s] the freaking SOMERS PD.”

While some residents have claimed the officer seen in footage was Driscoll, he said it was not him but "one of our officers." The first sign was taken down in August after the department received complaints about a sign on town property from a local woman.

“She didn’t say what kind of sign it was, but only that it was violating the town’s public right-of-way codes,” Driscoll said. “We sent an officer out there to check it out and he determined it was on town property and removed it.”

After the sign reappeared two more times in the same location, the officer again removed it and turned it in to the Somers Highway Department. Driscoll said the matter was simply a result of following protocol.

“It doesn’t matter what the sign says,” he said. “If we see signs in a location that violates town codes, we’re going to take it down.

"We’ve received numerous hate mail and phone calls threatening to kill officers. Most are very upset. They say the sign was on private property. It wasn’t. I’m very shocked by the venom we’ve received.”

Gibson, however, is continuing to tell TheBlaze that his sign was indeed on his property and that the Somers police are violating his First Amendment rights. His attorney told TheBlaze the issue has become a big deal because his client put up a First Amendment covered sign on a Second Amendment issue, which is a hot button topic in New York.

According to TheBlaze, Gibson initially planned to press charges against whoever was stealing his signs. However, after learning it was a police officer, he and his attorney are weighing their legal options.

Check back with The Daily Voice for updates on this story.

  • 33
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Comments (33)

Former Empire State:

So they just take down his sign and dump it at the highway department THREE times. How about knocking on his door and telling him to move his sign back two feet so it's not on the town's easement of his property.

jennifer.granholm.71:

Way to solve this is have his property surveyed.

If it is not his property, then he needs to make sure he was not charged property taxes on it.

If it is his property, then he can sue.

BENTHERE:

Instead of setting up a camera, he should have set up and ambush!! Take out that fat donut eater POS !!

Putnam 1955:

Excellent comment, you are so right. I can't believe some of the people who are writing here, who think what that thug did was OK. This is why our once great country is going down the tubes, people are not only afraid to stand up for their Constitutional rights, they don't even know what they are. Our children are being brainwashed from the time they're 5 years old and enter the indoctrination camps, oops, I meant to say schools. Somers should do what Put Valley did years ago when faced with a similar situation, i.e. duplicative police services: abolish the PD. You guys already have 2 other police forces to call for help, what do you need the doughnut eaters for except to harass the citizens?

P.F.Vincent:

JacqueRoche, if you are familiar with the code, you would understand that the officer removing the sign is not protocol. Therefore it is the beginning of the story not the end.
You are correct that one day you may need the police, but, there is a far greater chance that in Somers, it will be the State not the town police that arrive.
The home owner was,"putting fuel to the fire"? If someone kept stealing his garbage cans and he kept getting new ones or if someone flattened his tires and he kept fixing them, would that also be "fueling the fire"?
Finally, it is obvious that if you feel, that people should "make adjustments" to their opinions or beliefs based on whether or not it bothers someone, than clearly you do not believe in freedom of speech. Either that or you don't really grasp the concept. Sad for you.

Chris P.:

He was "just following orders". Sounds familiar.

Happy Day:

The Police did not follow protocol, this was a code violation which is handled by the buildings dept. not the police dept. The homeowner was issued a violation notice and not given due process. For our Police Chief and our Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy to ignore that fact is a disgrace. You can not go out and destroy and take someone's property, because they violated a town code without giving then due process. The police officer in the picture was just following orders and is now the fall guy for his superiors.

JacqueRoche:

The Somers Police are following the protocol. Someone complained, they investigated and took down the sign. End of story.

I am Concerned doesn't know if anyone has ever complained about campaign signs or contractor signs. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, support the local police. Some day when you need them, they will come and serve you.

All this clown (to quote Chris P) needs to do is post his sign a few feet into his property off the street. This clown is adding fuel to the fire by continuing to post his sign close to the road.

I'm all for freedom of speech, but observe the laws, and be considerate of your neighbors. You know it's bothering someone, make adjustments!

I am Concerned:

sorry double post

I am Concerned:

You can bet there are plenty of complaints and will be more as campaign signs go up. So no, not the end of story, it's just the beginning.

I am Concerned:

So that means, all real estate signs are illegal, as well as all campaign signs and contractor signs right? They all must be moved back or removed according to said code. Will the cops be driving around removing them all?
What a can of worms. Shame on you Somers. I hope MaryBeth doesn't put up any campaign signs. Everyone should complain.
Fire all the cops, NYSP does all the work anyway.

I am Concerned:

Mary Beth Murphy running for County Clerk,
http://marybethmurphy2013.com/

She'll be slapping those signs up everywhere.
Such hypocrisy. Shame on you Mary Beth.

GetALife:

Hey I Am Concerned.... do you have a life at all? Do yourself and everyone else a favor and go find one. You post and re-post complete garbage that makes you sound like an idiot. Stop embarrassing yourself. Go get the facts before you post such crap.

Somers Resident:

If we are now paying our part time Police Officers to go out and remove signage from private property ( the town does not own the easement area) then it's time to finally get rid of this Police Dept.. Presently we pay for Westchester County Police Officers to protect our children at school each day and we have NYS Troopers responding to and answering 911 calls; why do we need a part time police force made up of retired police officers many well past 60+ and most that can barely fit in their Patrol Cars (too many donuts at the 7-11 on Rt 100 each day ) where they park in the handicap parking every morning they are on duty. The time has come for the disbandment of this part time dept and have the NYS Police or The Westchester County Police take over Full Time. Additionally, the Town needs to understand what an easement is and that it is not Town Property so they are stealing Town Residents Property from the Private Property Owners land . So Residents that have had their property stolen file a Police Report with the NYS Police on Rt 100 at the Trooper Barracks and have the State Police Investigate and arrest the Town Police Officers and Police Chief and put The Town Board of Somers on notice (Notice of Claim) for their stolen property and illegal actions

Somers Resident

GetALife:

Somers Resident: I really hope that you aren't one, because I would hate to believe that such an idiot really resides in Somers. Donuts at 7-11? Is that the best you can do? God, your post is so pathetic and ignorant that it boggles the mind. Go file a Notice of Claim? Really? I truly hope that you are in serious need of a police officer and that nobody responds. Perhaps they will all be at 7-11, while you need help. Would serve you right, you dumb ass.

Damaged Goods:

Are the police in this town known for being thieves? How many of the officer have felonies? It seems to me that if officers are stealing from the citizens that they swore to protect and serve that the rest of the town is corrupt also. Is the mayor or council members felons like the police? Sounds like the citizens should demand that the mayor, police chief etc, should resign pending a grand jury investigation. When some thing as blatant a this. Then the real corruption runs pretty deep.

ct3408:

An easement is not public property, its an easement across private property. He needs to take immediate legal action against the officer, the department, and the town for violating his rights. If it is a crime to steal signs from private property, the "officer" should also be prosecuted, and fired. As usual, jackbooted thugs on the loose should make us very, very fearful. When I see a police car I am not one who thinks "ah, I'm safe", I think, "watch out, here comes a member of a legalized gang." To serve and protect, nope!

P.F.Vincent:

The officer or officers had been there 4 times without the courtesy of at least informing the homeowner of his "infraction". It seems that after the first time, they would warn him that he violated a code by placing a sign on public property. Third time, no fines? My best guess would be a self important, self righteous neighbor didn't like the message and complained. Most likely because they don't like guns or the fact that precious child might be exposed to the unalienable rights that we have and they might have to explain them. "What's freedom of speech, mommy?" ," The freedom to speak only words that don't make anyone-else feel uncomfortable". "What's freedom to bear arms, mommy?" , " the freedom to wear short sleeves".
I would venture to bet that, a tape measure is not standard issue for the police dept.( the10' rule). The cop answered the first call and when the homeowner put it back (most likely on his property) the cop took it personal. The cop was wrong.

Happy Day:

Code Violations are handled by the Building's Dept. and there is a process. With out a survey how does anyone know where this home owners property line is? Is this what people are paying the Somers PD for, to selectively remove lawn signs? Drive through Somers there are signs clearly on town property and a main roads that have been there for weeks. Somers is know for selective enforcement when it comes to lawn signs.

littlericky34:

Some good reporting would have solved the whole thing - if it is on town property it does not belong. But we don't have reporters at all in this country anymore.
Why doesn't he just paint it on his house?

GetALife:

Because painting it on his house would not get him the attention he so desperately wanted. He wanted this to turn into a pathetic 10 seconds of fame. What a loser. He and his attorney are now "considering their options". Really? Perhaps they will file a nice frivolous lawsuit which will cost the residents of Somers lots of taxpayer money to fight. Whatever attorney takes on this pathetic case should be subjected to sanctions and a grievance.

alicat2441:

I've been reading the comments section of this article and have come to the conclusion that you (GetALife) are either: 1) the police officer that removed the sign 2) the spouse or relative of the cop 3) the neighbor that complained in the first place. In none of your posts do you say anything to dispute the posters you reply to. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if this was a right of way violation by the homeowner the town procedure would be something like this: a warning for the first infraction, then a citation for the second, and fine for the third. The fourth would have been a trip to court! Police officers DO NOT remove signs on right of ways/easements! That falls on either the town's zoning dept, building dept, or maintenance/road crew dept. Just tell me something does the police dept go around removing all the political signs after an election around town that the candidates haven't removed? No they don't!

Putnam 1955:

Typical of the sheep who reside in the town to blame the victim of your tyrannical PD. I guess it doesn't bother you people to lose whatever freedom you still can claim you have. For that matter, I guess you don't mind paying millions for an unnecessary duplication of services in the first place. Let's see how you libs feel when they come for you as they inevitably will.

jkys:

We should all be "...shocked by the venom.." with the threats to KILL police officers. This is where background checks really make sense. The venomous should not be walking around with guns. Ever.

GetALife:

Agreed. Have you seen some of these psycho's posts on other sites? God help us all if they have guns!

westresident:

Hey getalife you don't have to worry about these psychos with guns. Once the cops are finished with taking down signs they don’t like, they’ll be right over to help you..

Fly on the Wall:

The PD should have left a note or otherwise contacted the property owner advising him his property was confiscated for violation of code.... and he can pick up his property at headquarters; or the dumpster behind it.

jkys:

Police should leave a note?????
Perhaps Martha Stewart can recommend an appropriate card?

ripple:

Easement rules vary depending on your lot size in Somers.
Unless he lives in a McMansion, it's 10 feet from the center of the road. Thats the town's easement. It's all easily resolved once they determine what zone his lot falls under and what the rules are for that zone.
I only know this because the code worked in my favor recently with a tree that turned out is the town's.

The town enacted a new code recently to help us get rid of all the signs that pop up along the roads. I for one am happy they did that. Seeing all the signs all over the place is ugly. I'm glad they can now just grab them and throw them out. I dont care whats on it.

fedupinny:

Except for here's the problem. Are the same police going around and taking down all the campaign signs that proliferate during this season? Of course not, this particular sign is being targeted for what it says NOT where it was. If you believe otherwise you are kidding yourself.

jkys:

I think the crazies smell meat.

Arizona:

Maybe the IRS will audit him.

cjmesq:

If it is, in fact, on private property...the police have some explaining to do.