Home » News » ACLU sues Portsmouth over resident’s critical signs

By The Associated Press, published on January 25, 2021

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Photo courtesy iStock: PierreDesrosiers

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has sued Portsmouth on behalf of a resident who’s been ordered to take down signs on his property that are critical of the town.


Resident Michael DiPaola has been feuding with the town for years over building-code enforcement and recently erected several signs about what the ACLU calls “perceived selective and corrupt code enforcement.”


The town says DiPaola violated the town’s zoning ordinance, failed to obtain a required permit to display the signs, was not allowed to display political signs, and violated a ban on signs that could be distracting to motorists. He was told he could be fined $500 per day unless he removed the signs.


ACLU attorney Richard Sinapi said the town is violating DiPaola’s First Amendment rights.


The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the ordinance, and compensatory damages.


Town Administrator Richard Rainer Jr. said he could not comment on ongoing litigation.



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