Greenwich Voices For Democracy Condemns Town Removal of Its Political Signs as “a Flagrant First Amendment Violation”

Statement from the Greenwich Voices for Democracy (GVFD):

Greenwich Voices for Democracy (GVFD) has determined that scores of its political signs were wrongfully taken by the Town of Greenwich and carted off to be destroyed. GVFD strongly condemns this flagrant violation of its First Amendment rights.

Dumpster at the exit 4 DPW shed. Contributed photo
Closer look at signs inside dumpster at Exit 4 DPW shed. Contributed photo

The signs, which called voters’ attention to the association between the Greenwich Republican state candidates and Trumpism, were removed within a 48-hour period from multiple locations across the Town of Greenwich. These thefts were reported in both the Greenwich Time and the Greenwich Free Press. Additional signs, placed on Friday morning, were similarly removed within hours. GVFD received eyewitness information that Department of Public Works (DPW) employees, using a DPW truck, had removed the signs claiming they were “offensive” and any objections to their removal should be referred to their boss. With that information, GVFD went to a DPW depot and found scores of signs tossed in one of its dumpsters, slated for destruction. The signs have now been secured by the police. 

Signs inside dumpster at Exit 4 DPW shed. Contributed photo

The signs that GVFD placed on public property were among other political signs which seemingly went untouched. Our signs were specifically targeted based on their content and were removed because someone in the Town Government found them “offensive.”

Removing signs that have a political message because of an objection to that message strikes at the very heart of the First Amendment.

“When municipalities, or Towns, are able to use their positions of authority to stifle speech they do not like, everyone’s rights are at risk,” said Sandy Litvack, a former Greenwich Selectman, an attorney and Chairman of GVFD in the statement.

GVFD has requested that the Town cease and desist removing GVFD signs and replace those it has removed.

“This is an unfortunate episode in the history of Greenwich,” Litvack said in the statement. “Free speech, whether by Republicans or Democrats, has always been held inviolate. It is imperative that the Town take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that this type of infringement of Constitutional Rights does not recur and that whoever authorized their removal and removed them be held accountable. Using taxpayer money and government resources and personnel to prevent free speech is neither permissible nor tolerable. We are disappointed that the Town has neither acknowledged nor condemned the acts by Town personnel. For the Town to bury its head in the sand and pretend it did not happen is simply unacceptable.”

Greenwich Voices for Democracy is a CT independent expenditure committee focused on informing local residents about local candidates and their positions during a contentious election season.