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.