A police officer was justified in taking a New York man's pro-Second Amendment sign as the city of Somers, N.Y., has determined it was located on "public property," Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy told TheBlaze.
However, the man's attorney, Richard Bombardo, of Syracuse, strongly refuted the claim, telling TheBlaze "that's not what the law says." To that effect, the attorney said he and his client, Jon Gibson, will "probably" file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Murphy claims the police officer, seen in photographs provided to TheBlaze forcibly removing Gibson's sign, was not required to officially cite Gibson before taking action because it was located on public property and in violation of town ordinances. TheBlaze first broke the story earlier this week and it has since garnered national attention.
"It's not about the content of the sign," Murphy told TheBlaze, adding that she is a "staunch supporter of the Second Amendment."
Indicating that the law was much more complex than that, Bombardo disputed the city's claim, saying that the city does not exclusively own the property and was required to cite his client prior to taking action relating to personal items on his property.
"We have a very solid case," he said.
Murphy said residents put up signs near right-of-ways "all the time," and the city takes them down when they become aware of them, she explained. In this case, there was a complaint about the pro-gun sign.
However, a new mystery has also emerged.
Murphy said the Somers Police Department has informed her that its officers only took the sign twice, once being the time a cop was caught on camera. She said police aren't sure who took the sign the first two times -- Gibson recently told TheBlaze that his sign was stolen a total of four times.
When asked about the manner in which the officer caught on camera removed the sign, kicking it and snapping its post, Murphy was slightly evasive.
"I did ask the police chief if there was any damage to the sign and he said no," she said, but later admitted that the "support beam" may have been slightly damaged as the officer tried to loosen it.
Gibson is welcome to go to the police station to pick up his sign, she added.