Judge: Yonkers officials violated rights of publisher

A federal judge ruled Monday that Yonkers city officials violated the constitutional rights of a local publisher.

Sam Zherka publishes a free weekly newspaper called the Westchester Guardian. Zherka says the trouble began last summer when he noticed the stands that held his newspaper had been removed from the streets. City workers were caught on camera allegedly removing his paper and leaving others. Zherka filed the suit against the city claiming content-based discrimination.

According to Zherka, the papers were removed after he ran articles that were critical of Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, who was in the middle of a re-election campaign at the time. Amicone has denied any link between his campaign and the removal of the papers. According to Amicone, the news racks were removed for public safety reasons.

The judge ruled the city of Yonkers violated Zherka?s First Amendment rights. Zherka says he won?t receive any financial compensation for the case. However, he says he still has nine other lawsuits pending against the city. He adds that he has at least eight similar lawsuits in other Westchester municipalities.

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