An Asbury Park resident claims that he was ordered by police to take down his anti-Trump sign, or face criminal charges.
David Sander was asked by Asbury Park police to remove the sign, which showed Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump in a suggestive sexual position. He was told that the sign was obscene and that it violated the law.
“We are here to talk to you about displaying obscene material,” an officer is heard saying on his body camera on Sept. 29, a day after Sander set up the sign.
“A little risqué, without a question. I try to stay away from risqué, but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it,” Sander replies.
The officers told Sander that they had taken pictures of his banners and that they had sent them to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. They added that the prosecutor had determined that the sign was obscene.
It was unclear who had filed the complaint, and who had determined that the sign was obscene. Speaking to News 12 New Jersey, the prosecutor’s office stated that the officers did contact them, but stated that the police department would handle the situation. The prosecutor offered no comment about the bodycam footage.
Sander has often displayed banners on his lawn to express his political views. In the past three years, he has displayed over 100 original banners.
“For me to stop would mean for other people out there would be afraid to do it. It would mean that the rights in this country are being eroded,” he said.
To avoid being charged with a felony, Sander allowed the officers to remove the Trump/Putin sign. He stated that his interaction with the officers was cordial, and all he wanted was to know who had made the complaint.
He said, “To come into somebody’s house and tell them the banner you have is going to put you in jail because it’s suggestive and take that banner down is wrong.”
This was the first time Sander had police called onto his property ever since he began putting up the signs after the 2016 election.