Sunnyside drops charges against Tom Paul - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sunnyside drops charges against Tom Paul

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SUNNYSIDE, Wash -- The City of Sunnyside is dropping criminal charges against Tom Paul.

The city claims his signs criticizing former City Manager Robert Stockwell and City Hall are illegal and violate the city commercial code.

Paul says they aren't commercial signs, just good old fashion free speech signs. 

He put up the signs after the city denied him a permit almost two years ago.  Paul thinks the permit was denied because of a dispute over land that he owned, but the city wanted for a road expansion.

Earlier this year, a judge dropped the charges. However, a few days later, they were re-instated. But now that Stockwell has retired, the all the charges have been dropped.

"I feel completely vindicated," said Paul.  "I just never could understand why the city wanted to keep pursuing this matter."

The signs are still up, but Paul removed the critical language.

Now that the charges are dropped both sides say they can now focus on resolving the land dispute.