In New York State, the battle over the NY SAFE Act (the legislation rushed through the legislature without being read in the immediate wake of the Sandy Hook shootings and bans almost all modern firearms) is far from over. While the legislature seems happy with its decision to pass nonsensical laws designed solely to make firearms ownership and self defense as difficult and ineffective as possible, the people in upstate New York are livid. Residents have started posting signs calling for the repeal of the SAFE Act, an act of advocacy protected by the First Amendment. But the Somers, New York police department seems dead set on infringing on that right as well . . .

One New York resident had posted such a sign in his yard, advocating for the repeal of the SAFE Act and noticed that at some point in the day the sign had disappeared. He believed it to be his neighbor, who didn’t approve of the sign. So when he put up another sign with the same message, he also attached a trail camera to a nearby tree (designed to take pictures of deer and other animals when triggered by movement). Instead of catching his neighbor, he caught a series of images of a member of his local police department removing lifting the sign from his front lawn.

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The sign owner is now in the process of contacting a lawyer to file a suit against the city. According to the comment thread, there’s some question about whether the placement of the sign violates a city ordinance, and it’s believed that the neighbor has been calling the local police department to report the sign owner and demand that it be taken down.

I have tried to contact the Somers police department, but they have not responded.

119 Responses to Somers, NY Police Officer Caught Stealing Signs Advocating Repeal of SAFE Act

      • The cop should lose his job for taking down a sign on PUBLIC property? Really? You are an idiot.

        • You missed the whole point. Until and unless a survey says differently, it’s PRIVATE property. The guy pegged his signs into his lawn near the road. His sign on his property.

      • Article and description says “posted such a sign in his yard”. Private property. Got nothing against cops. Totally hate thieves!!

        • Like I said elsewhere in the thread, once the second amendment is repealed we won’t have these little ddebates about where it’s legal to post a sign anymore, will we?

          Going to be fun the day you civilians have to turn all your weapons in. Me and my brothers are going to have our pick of the best gear before we destroy the rest.

    • The idiot gonna run all over America and take down all 2 million signs? Like that one sign had the most important value?

      • Obummer might invite the sign owner and police officer to the WH for beer and pretzels, and then turn on the home owner to lecture him about his non-existent gun-rights.

  1. Hilarious, in some states, the owner of the signs would have been well within his rights to shoot the cop dead. Armed robbery is a violent felony which automatically triggers legitimate use of lethal force to stop. Given that the cop provided no notice of the seizure in either case, there is no way to sweep that one under the rug. As I said… Hilarious. Smile for the .308 Porky.

    • That is an interesting thought. Could this officer have committed armed robbery? I would have said charged with instead of committed, but lets be serious. He’s got every DA in the state on his side.

      • No, this officer did not commit armed robbery because robbery is to confront someone face to face and take their property. This officer committed burglary (or perhaps vandalism) while armed. Very different crimes. Also, if the officer was prosecuted the charge would be based on the monetary value of what was stolen, so in this case I’m thinking 5th degree theft – maybe a $200 fine at best.

        • Different states are different, but in most states (and common law) buglary is the entry into property with the intent to commit petty theft or some felony.

          E.g., it is buglary if I say to you, hey I am going to K-Mart and I am going to shoplift some movies, and then proceed to do so. Notice, buglary does not involve necessarily unlawful entry, trespassing, etc. You can be invited in. The key defining factor is the previous intent (prior to entry) to commit a crime inside. This is important…in California a man is serving 50-life for shoplifting less than a dozen VHS tapes (all kids movies, for his child) from two separate K-Marts (two counts). It was his third (non violent) strike. SCOTUS upheld the sentence. Yet if they couldn’t prove intent prior to entry at best he would have gotten a month in jail.

          Most states do not allow the use of deadly force to protect merely private property. California, e.g., allows it to protect real property or livelihood, but not your TV set.

          Looking at the somewhat idiosyncratic NY penal code, it seems to me this would qualify as “petit larcerny”. It isn’t burglary as that is defined as pertaining only to entering or remaining in a building unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime therein. Your yard is not a building. If it were, it would be burglary in the 2nd degree (as he was armed).

        • JoshuaS, common law burglary is the entry of a person’s dwelling “at night time” with the intent of committing a felony. The lawn is not a dwelling, and taking signs is probably not a felony. But the common law is not the law anywhere that I know of.

        • actually, I would argue there is a conspiracy here and that broadens the crime. . . . I doubt this dumb ass cop got the idea on his own while munching on his morning donut and free coffee that he demanded from the local stop and rob. No – someone with more gray matter told him to do this . . . . hence, a conspiracy to commit robbery. Additionally, I would argue, there is a conspiracy to deprive the sign’s owner of his civil rights (ie, the 1st and 2nd). Yep – time to make this federal.

        • It’s not trespassing, just like it’s not robbery. These are words that are commonly used but have specific legal definitions.

        • Check your facts and the statute, Gov. The person posting the sign broke the law, not the cop who removed it. You really should do some intelligent investigating before you post with such an air of authority. Gov? Really? Of what? There’s no burglary…there’s no robbery…there are only idiots like you posting as though you have some intelligence. Go to bed already. Perhaps you will wake up and be someone else.

      • He DID break the law…Title 18 USC sect 242…deprivation of rights under color of law, federal crime. The homeowner, on his property, placed a sign that meets the test of his right of free speech. The officer, without proper justification committed trespass, theft/vandalism, and deprived the homeowner of his first amendment protections. The issue is will the officer be prosecuted?

      • I really tried to ignore your ignorant comment…but couldn’t. You sound like a 10 year old crybaby. Perhaps the idiot should have posted the sign on HIS OWN property, rather than setting up such a pathetic “sting operation”. He should be cited for trespassing on town or state property. The guy wanted his 10 seconds of fame…and you idiots are giving it to him. Grow up and get a life already.

        • The second amendment will eventually be repealed, and then we will not have these little arguments about the legality of signs anymore. Haha.

        • @sick of the morons, You keep saying the moron should have posted the sign in his own yard or some other comment to that effect. Did you read the article at all? It clearly states “One New York resident had posted such a sign in his yard, advocating for the repeal of the SAFE Act and noticed that at some point in the day the sign had disappeared.” Were you able to read it that time? “In his yard” That means private property. not an easement, not a public park, not a random street corner, but in his yard. Dumbass.

    • One of the all-time best metal albums. Some of those songs seem downright prophetic now.

      And on top of that, this song has one of the all-time best melodic guitar solos in the history of metal. Long live Queensryche!

  2. I forget the specifics but it would be some kind of violation under cover of authority, but only if the officer knew or should have known what he was doing was illegal. Exigent circumstances and all.It may have been the neighbor the first three times, and the officer took the last of the four signs, and was trying to be nice and not write the owner a citation for some city ordinance regarding yard displays. Or it could be a douchebag cop who thinks he is the only one who should have access to firearms. You would think he would have knocked on the door though.

  3. New York is the very definition of a police state, and these pictures have just confirmed it. Anything less than this officer loosing his job may sound off the battle cry.

    • Wow, Steve. Such a brilliant comment. Sound the battle cry? For removing a sign on public property? You are in desperate need of some education…and a life.

  4. the Somers code on temporary signs is as follows:
    In residence districts, the following signs are hereby authorized:
    A. One residence business or professional sign not exceeding 150 square inches for each residence.

    B. One “for sale” or one “to let” sign not exceeding two feet by two and one-half feet, set back at least 20 feet from the street line in a Residence R80 District or not exceeding two feet by two feet, set back at least 15 feet from the street line in any Residence R40 District or not exceeding one and one-half feet by two feet, set back at least 10 feet from the street line in any Residence R10 District.

    C. In multifamily residence developments, one sign at each access drive, not exceeding 20 square feet in area or 10 feet in any one dimension. Small, nonilluminated signs not exceeding 1 1/2 square feet in area which are necessary for the direction, safety and convenience of the public shall be permitted. No sign shall be placed in such a way as to obstruct proper sight distance or otherwise interfere with pedestrian or traffic flow.

    • Those would be commercial signs. To my understanding restrictions on political (1st amendment) signs have been overruled nationwide by Supreme Court opinions.

      Typically, even political, signs can not ever be placed in the parking (grass between the street and sidewalk as that is publicly “owned” property.

      • The case you’re thinking about is called Ladue v. Gilleo. A city in Ohio tried to ban a woman from having a sign protesting intervention in the middle east.

    • So the code is silent on noncommercial signage? How about political signage? The sign falls in the same category as one that says “Vote for __ so I can rob you legally.”

  5. Corruption on every level all the way down to local law enforcement.
    The Dems lie, cheat and steal and never let an opportunity go to waste.
    Their actions go unchecked and if caught doing wrong they enjoy the luxury of investigating themselves while they find no fault on their part.
    The law abiding Conservatives can take legal action which takes months all the while the liberal Dems are at it 100s if not 1,000s of times per day.
    They are violating the law and the rights of others faster than they can legally be held accountable for their actions in a court of law.
    It costs them little to nothing to perform their unlawful acts while it costs much to challenge their actions in court.
    The odds are stacked against the law abiding citizens that follow the proper channels as they are overwhelmed with the lawlessness of the liberal Dems hell bent on their agenda.

    • Interesting point.

      I have heard concerns from people about anarchy if things get out of hand. Based on your depiction, things are already out of hand. Sadly, I don’t think there are many people who would disagree with your depiction.

    • Well, when we have law makers like Feinstein that have said they must pass laws even if they are not Constitutional and it’s not their job to figure it out. They just must pass them and let the courts figure it out years later.

    • The “proper channels” are designed to benefit the rulers… not the ruled.

      To be free, one must go outside the “proper channels.”

  6. My guess is that this is less tyrannical oppression and more lazy cop. The neighbor has probably called bitching multiple times, so the cops got sick of hearing about it, and went and pulled the sign down. Much easier and faster than actually talking to the guy, who would probably argue a bunch of that first amendment junk (and who wants to deal with that?), they figured, and it’ll shut up the crybaby next door. They just didn’t count on the game camera catching them in the act. Whoops!

    No doubt there’s some bullshit local ordinance buried 400 pages deep in the city codes that prohibits the sign because it’s three inches taller than allowed or some crap like that.

    Not that any of it is right or excusable, but I’d put money that this is just a typical suburban “squeaky wheel” asshole neighbor/dumb cop situation, and the exact same shit would have gone down whether the sign was about the SAFE Act or for a lawn mower he’s trying to sell.

  7. Looking forward to the final outcome here- in my city during campaign season, many signs are improperly placed, as in placed violating city code regarding signs. The city has some non-police employees go around and remove improper signs, and then notify the candidate or group to come recover their signs from the city. I don’t think there’s even a fine involved, but I’m not sure since I have nothing to do with the whole process.

    I have no information suggesting that is what is happening here, and honestly I kind of doubt it will turn out to be any explanation other than theft. I’m more curious to see what this department comes up with for an explanation.

  8. If the sign violates a local code, the Po Po should instruct the property owner to remove the sign and/or issue a summons. Not steal the sign, repeatedly, without contacting the “offender”.

    Doesn’t sound like “enforcement” or official business to me.

    • Or, cite the idiot who kept posting the sign on public property and, perhaps go after him for defamation or slander…accusing the cop of “stealing” when the sign was illegally posted…over and over and over again.

      • Sorry you got caught on camera dude. If I had a chrome dome like that I’d be embarrassed too, but what’s done is done. If it will make you feel any better I’d be happy to take a huge dump in your mouth…………ELLIPSES FOR EFFECT

  9. I had been following this on the NYfirearms forum… that city is now in deep doo-doo. Local ordinances cannot trump the 1st Amendment, which is why the resident in question was told he was okay with the sign.

    The money to pay for the cameras to observe that came from donations from gun members. I don’t think anyone expected this.

  10. Stealing is stealing…it shouldn’t be hard to identify the cop…then he should be charged with burglary and sent to prison for a few years. Simple.

    • Dirk,

      I said the same thing below before I read the comments. While I am no attorney, I know a crime when I see one — whether the perpetrator is a street punk or government.

  11. Surprised the cops, after discovering they were being filmed, didnt return to the home to smash the trail cam and beat the homeowner then charge him with assaulting a police officer. That would have been SOP.

    • Well…they haven’t yet. If he has a dog, I’d recommend getting him some body armor, or maybe have him stay with friends for a while.

  12. I can see a basic restriction on huge signs that block the view of an intersection or block a sidewalk. Other than that, any other restriction on political signs is a de-facto infringement of free speech.

    The home owner should find an attorney to file suit for deprivation of civil rights under color of law as well as filing suit to overturn any sign restrictions beyond the simple limitation for intersections that I mentioned above.

  13. The sign may have been on the road right of way. At least that will be the city’s take on it.
    If I put a sign right at my curb, it is not my property. My city also has an ordinance where political signs can reference an election or referendum with in a certain period before the election. If the sign is definitly on your property, a police officer can’t come and remove it, I think that the owner needs to be notified he is out of compliance.

  14. From the owner
    “I am definitely waiting to hear from shooter. Technically its a violation of town code to post signs within 15′ of the road…… but, as shooter advised; the town code violates my first amendment rights. In the original thread the town actually sent me a letter to remove it but when I called the town building indpector he told me it was ok “for now”. “

    • Wow Jennifer. You are so brilliant. God, how can we be in your presence? Really smart comment. What are you, in like 12th grade for the 12th time? Stop embarrassing yourself with such idiotic comments.

      • I’m really smart you can tell by the way I insulted your intelligence multiple times in a manner that was in no way redundant.

        PS – Only trained professionals like police officers should have guns.

  15. Nothing will come of this lawsuit. It looks like the sign was placed next to the road. The road is state property and the state owns a few feet on either side of the road. The police will just say that the guy posted the sign on government property. Not that I agree with the cop taking the sign. He should have just asked the homeowner to move it back a few feet.

    • I’d be willing to bet that road is not state property. Considering the man lives on a small cul-de-sac, it’s more than likely town owned. The state (or town in this case) doesn’t always own a few feet on each side of the road either. They have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean they own it, and there is a huge difference in what you can and can’t do.

    • Perhaps the idiot was asked, as he admitted, several times…but his arrogance and stupidity got the better of him. Now, he has his 10 seconds of bullshit fame…and he is happy. Probably has the IQ of a small walnut. And, Steve…it sounds like you do, too.

  16. I predict that now that the POLICE know this homeowner has a hidden camera watching his sign, the POLICE won’t be CAUGHT STEALING said sign. Or they will steal both next time. Better move the camera and keep it camoflaged!

  17. In a similar vein, did you catch this act?

    http://michellemalkin.com/2013/09/20/parents-you-need-to-question-these-people-shock-video-of-dad-arrested-at-school-meeting-after-challenging-common-core/

    The DA dropped the charges against the dad, but the fact remains that he was physically dragged out of a school board meeting for voicing his concerns.

    Of course, we have the admin so far getting away with using government agencies to lean on political opponents, so I guess a bit of sign stealing pales by comparison.

    This sh!t cannot be allowed to continue. Keep supporting the House investigations. Drag the rats into the light, no matter how they struggle, wriggle and bite.

    If we can’t, I fear that there will be genuine ugliness in our future. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

  18. A government cannot remove any political sign that is on private property, to do so violates the persons 1st amendment rights. Unless city admin and council are dumber than a box of rocks they and the police department should know this. The property owner has the right to sue for trespassing, theft, and destruction of private property. I think a new city council, mayor, police chief and review of officers conduct.

    • Nobody seems to have mentioned whether or not the local jurisdiction had an easement, which could make a difference. There are a lot of places where the city (or whatever) has an easement within some arbitrary number of feet of a roadway. Is there any way to find out?

      But still, even if they did, it’s just poopy of them to rip off the signs without ever even contacting the homeowner about them.

      • It’s not a city..it’s a town. And the town does have an easement. But, all these morons would rather post bullshit because it makes them feel smart and important. God, what a waste of time….. The moron should have posted on his OWN property. But, it’s more fun to take cheap ass shots at cops..who, by the way, look out for idiots like those posting on this pathetic site.

        • I’ve just read enough of your comments to make me wonder why, if you think this site is so bad, and full of morons and idiots, WHY you even bother posting?

          What is the distance of the right-of-way easement in this Somers, NY anyway? (Please give reference so we know you aren’t blowing smoke.)

        • Perhaps “Sick of the Morons” is just mad they took his picture without his consent. He just seems a little too biased. Hey Sick, what did you do with the sign after you pulled it up?

  19. I’ve been through crap like this before, albeit not with a RKBA sign. It was another one of my life experiences that makes me really trust cops (cough).

    Here’s a tip for people who have signs removed:

    Go find some poison ivy, poison oak or sumac. Use your imagination from there.

    • Pepper spray should work, just use yellow paint first. He’ll either wipe his, er, eyes or have to pee sooner or later. This from personal experience.

    • I would also buy some Cayenne pepper and just empty it all the way around the sign all over the ground so anyone walking through it from the street will track it into their vehicle. We use cayenne pepper on our construction fences to keep undesriables out from stealing copper/ equipment.

  20. The Town of Somers code DOES allow non-commercial, residential yard signs ( see Section 170- signs permissible). Each sign may be no more than two square ft., three sign max, max of five square feet of signage per yard. no permit required. I suspect that signs may not be posted on the highway right-of way which might mean that ten or more feet of his front lawn is off limits! (you’d be surprised at how many people think their property starts at the edge of the pavement). If those signs are on the right-of-way the town has every right to remove them without notice. There may also be an addition sign setback form the edge of the right-of-way required. I just checked a SCOPE sign posted a few doors down the street. They measure 24×18, obviously larger than two square feet. My suggestion would be to cut the sign in half, just above the solid blue line. Place the upper half on its own stand just behind (maybe about an inch? and above the lower half. When viewed from the street the message will look like one sign but will in fact constitute two separate units, each well within the sign limit set by town code!
    Does restricting a non-commercial, residential sign to two square feet constitute a violation of the 1st Amendment? That’s tough to say. I would think however that if he posts a new sign as per my suggestion above, appropriately placed on his own property as per town code, he should be within his rights.

  21. In one account of this incident the sign owner admitted that the signs were four or five feet off the road pavement, likely putting them well onto the highway right-of-way. If he locates his front corner property pins he’ll know where his property starts. (In my own case, the 1st 12.5′ of “my” lawn actually belongs to the town highway dept. If somebody wants to park on “my” grass they have right to do so. Just because I cut and care for it doesn’t mean I own it) I’m fairly confident that the officer(s) that have been taking down those signs did so upon orders of the Chief of Police, who got his orders from the town supervisor. It’s likely that the town supervisor got involved after the neighbor in question found out that the Building Inspector had told the sign owner that he could repost the sign after the issue of 1st Amendment rights was raise;. a decision like that is WELL above the pay grade of Building Inspector, who should have referred the sign owner to the town attorney or town supervisor, but such is life in small town government. The proper, but not required, thing to do was for either the town supervisor or a police officer to inform the sign owner as to what was going on as regards signs on the town right-of-way. My hunch however is that the town supervisor told the cops to play “hardball”, thus raising the odds that the supervisor is an anti-gun A- hole. That’s speculation if course, but in the world of politics if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck …it’s a duck. An speaking of ducks, the sign owner needs to get his in a row, the town regulations are posted on the town website. If you’re going to mess with a government entity you’ll have to go through a frustrating learning curve before you’re successful, don’t give up just because you run into brick wall the 1st time out. .. Been there, done that. Most importantly, if you are a person of reasonable judgment you are very probably correct if your gut tells you that something is right or wrong. NEVER, EVER believe something that a politician or government employee tells you until you check it out for yourself!!!!!!!!

  22. ” have tried to contact the Somers police department, but they have not responded.”

    “To Protect and to Serve [the Politicians]”

  23. Simple problem: cops don’t like him.

    Simple solution: move out, sell house to crack-heads (or Hell’s Angels, MS-13 etc…).

    Sell it for maximum social collapse.

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