A battle is brewing after a Westchester County town instructed a resident to take down a banner quoting Martin Luther King Jr. that is positioned outside their home.
The banner reads "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," a famous quote from the civil rights icon. Scarsdale resident Dan Brown said what he considers to be free speech, could’ve ended up costing him plenty.
“They left a letter on the porch saying we would go to jail for a year, that we’d be fined $1,000 a day,” Brown said.
The letter from the town of Easchester said the banner, which is draped over a front window, is an installed, prohibited sign – and as a result, violates the fire code.
“So we took the banner down, but we left the four signs up because everybody else on the street has school signs and every other kind of sign, and if they’re allowed to display their signs, we’re allowed to display ours,” Brown said.
The notice to Brown is dated Friday, and gives one day to respond. The family said they found it not in their mailbox, but on their front steps over the weekend. Brown said the family had reached out to the town since receiving the letter, but hadn’t heard back.
Brown lives in the home with his mother-in-law, who owns the property. He said he was surprised to get the notice about the banner, which supports the Black Lives Matter movement, especially because of the banners and displays he puts up every Halloween. The town does allow holiday decorations, as long as they’re removed within two weeks of the holiday.
“We’ve had Bible quotes written in blood hung in the exact same spot, and they stayed there a month without a single complaint,” Brown said. “I want to know why … they’re allowed to take away my First Amendment rights.”
The town of Eastchester said in a statement that while they stand for free speech, the sign violated certain rules and they are currently reviewing their laws regarding signage.