Judge rules that Westfield mayor violated First Amendment - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Judge rules that Westfield mayor violated First Amendment

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A judge ruled Monday that Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik violated the First Amendment rights of a city councilor and a resident.

In November 2011 Westfield politicians filed a lawsuit against Knapik, who they say ordered their campaign signs be removed from a property owner's yard.

Knapik reportedly had Westfield DPW workers remove City Councilor David Flaherty's campaign signs from a private property across from the mayor's home.

According to the court summary, the judge says that the mayor allowed a real estate sign to remain in place but ordered city workers to remove all the campaign signs from the yard.

There were no complaints about the signs from residents, but the summary says the mayor wanted them removed for public safety issues.

Flaherty says he believes the mayor removed the signs because of their personal disagreements.

"It's hurting the city's reputation, it's distracting from the work we have to do. And these people that are employees of the city have to go to work and testify and are worried if they say the wrong thing their jobs can be in jeopardy so I think there's a lot of reasons why this should be over and done with," Flaherty said. 

Knapik was unable to be reached for comment, but the city lawyers say they're making a motion to reconsider.

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