ONTARIO, OH– Today, The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to the City of Ontario Law Director Rebecca Thomas demanding it end all attempts to force resident Tom Briner to remove or alter a sign posted on his private property.
The letter follows a written demand from Dallas Strickler, zoning inspector for the City of Ontario who ordered Mr. Briner to remove his sign or alter it. The sign reads, "Why Vote for the Review Board? Ask Our Chief About His Past." In the letter, Strickler declared that Briner's sign was no longer acceptable under Ontario's zoning codes because it was no longer a political sign by virtue of its “personal attack on one particular member of the OPD.” He then commanded Briner to alter the sign to "encourage the public to support on Election Day a proposal to establish a Police Review Board for the City of Ontario."
Strickler ended the letter threatening Briner that if he did not remove or alter the sign, he would turn the matter over to the Ontario Law Department for prosecution.
“It is entirely unacceptable for the City of Ontario to tell its citizens they cannot criticize government officials through the use of yard signs". Daniels went on, "Such a blatant violation of Mr. Briner's free speech rights can not be allowed to continue and must cease immediately".
Daniels added, "We trust the City of Ontario recognizes the lack of judgment by the zoning inspector and will take prompt action to ensure the preservation of Mr. Briner's rights"