Asbury Park man says police made him take down anti-Trump sign
An Asbury Park man says that police ordered him to take town his anti-President Donald Trump sign or face criminal charges.
Asbury Park police told David Sander that his sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump in a suggestive sexual position was obscene and violated the law.
“We are here to talk to you about displaying obscene material,” an Asbury Park police officer is heard saying on a police body camera from Sept. 29, one day after Sander posted 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 says.
The police officers told Sander that they sent photos of his banners to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and that the prosecutor also determined the banner to be obscene.
It was not clear who initially filed the complaint against Sander and who made the decision that it was obscene. The prosecutor’s office tells News 12 New Jersey that Asbury Park police did contact them, but that they were told that police would handle the situation. The prosecutor did not comment on the police bodycam footage from the incident.
Sander often expresses his political views through banners displayed on his lawn. He says that they are just political humor. He has displayed over 100 original banners over the last three years.
“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,” Sander says.
But Sander did agree to allow the officers to cut down the Putin/Trump banner to avoid being charged with a felony. He says that his interaction with the police remained friendly. He just wants to know who made the complaint in the first place.
“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,” he says.
This is the first time that police have visited Sander’s home since he began flying the banners after the 2016 election.