A family at a Michigan residence say they grew tired of people stealing Trump campaign signs from their private property, likely often under cover of night, so it appears they decided to make sure the thieves would pay a price.
A homeowner in Commerce Township decided to tape sharp razor blades to the bottom of the next sign they put out. The blades lined the bottom of the Trump-Pence 2020 sign, so that the next vandal would be in for a surprise.
A 52-year-old man later did approach the property to remove the sign, getting his fingers sliced open in the process, but it turns out the man was a civic worker who had been ordered by Township Supervisor David Scott to remove the sign for violating town ordinances.
The ordinance specifies how close a political sign can be to a public roadway, and the sign on private property was deemed ten feet too close.
The bizarre incident is now subject of intense controversy, making national news. CNN reports that the town employee had first thought he was being electrocuted when he reached down to pull out the sign:
Scott said his employee thought he was being "shocked electrically" when he went to touch the sign. Instead, three fingers on his left hand were sliced open by a line of razor blades taped to the campaign sign. The man began "aggressively bleeding" and drove himself to a nearby hospital, Scott said.
Although there was no damage to any nerves or tendons in his fingers, the man required a tourniquet on one of his fingers to stop the bleeding and still only has limited use of his hand at this point, Scott said.
A statement by the city alleged that the homeowner had "boobytrapped" the yard sign.
"You can't boobytrap them with the intent to hurt, harm or maim someone," the township supervisor said. "For whatever reason, (someone felt the need to) protect this like it's the Crown Jewels."
The local county sheriff's office is currently investigating the incident. The homeowner has since issued ambiguous statements as why the sign was lined with razors, denying they were behind it. Police later found at least two signs with razors protruding from them:
Two campaign signs on were found with razor blades taped to them, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
The homeowner, who was also not identified by authorities, said the signs had previously been stolen from their property and when they returned from out of town the signs were back in their yard, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Local media reports indicated upon being questioned by police, "The homeowner said she didn't know anything about the razor blades. Some of her signs supporting President Trump had been stolen, she said, then were returned and put back in the yard."
The township said that civic workers routinely pull up yard signs deemed in violation of ordinances and typically leave them beside trash bins.
Last month the AP reported on a Trump sign in Massachusetts being protected by an electric fence:
Local media called it an example of "politics getting bloody":
However, it doesn't appear there was any attempt to contact and notify the homeowner of the supposed "violation" - which many would argue should be protected free speech in the first place.
Instead, it remains that the worker entered private property with the intent to dispose of someone's personal possession, getting injured in the process. The final legal outcome of this episode will be interesting, but we don't expect either the town or police to come down on the side of property rights.
Local media also reports that the homeowner may be facing charges related to endangerment.