Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kent Man Faces Fine For 'Impeach Bush' Sign
Kent Man Faces Fine For 'Impeach Bush' Sign

KENT, Ohio -- A northeast Ohio man is in trouble for displaying his thoughts on President George W. Bush.

The Kent homeowner wants the president impeached, but how he voiced that opinion could cost him $125 and possible hundreds more, reported NewsChannel5's Pete Kenworthy.

"I was charged with advertising on public property, a violation of Kent city ordinance 503.02," said Kevin Egler.

Egler maintains that the ordinance doesn't cover what he did, placing a sign saying "Impeach Bush" on public property.

While the sign was on city land, he claims that so are many other signs around Kent, some of which are advertising that allows businesses to benefit -- a direct violation of the ordinance.

"Everything from a lost kitten sign put on a telephone pole to military recruitment posters on poles to signs similar to mine that said 'House for sale, this direction,'" he said.

Egler's attorney, who is handling the case pro bono, agrees.

"What police don't have a right to do is selectively enforce the law. Military recruiters can place signs, garage sales, Realtors, but if someone doesn't like the president, you arrest them and treat them like a criminal. That's not what the United States is about," said attorney Bob Fitrakis.

He said, "In this case, all the officer had to do is treat him like they admit they treat mainstream political candidates and just say, 'Hey, remove the sign.' But the fact that you would criminalize this case, I think is an attempt to suppress free speech."

The prosecution decided to drop the charges but the Kent law director implied he would re-file under a littering charge.

Now, instead of a possible $125 fine, he faces a fine of up to $500.

No date has been set for the next hearing.