- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins has paid a $2,500 penalty for asking businesses in his district to take down campaign signs for a political opponent.

The State Ethics Commission said Tompkins acknowledged violating the state’s conflict of interest law by identifying himself as sheriff when asking eight business owners to remove the signs displayed in their shops.

According to the commission, Tompkins went to eight retail shops in Roxbury in 2013 that were displaying campaign signs for Tompkins’ 2014 opponent Douglas Bennett, identified himself as sheriff, displayed his official identification, and asked each shop owner to remove Bennett’s signs.

All the owners complied.

Commission Executive Director Karen Nober said it’s unreasonable to think any owner would have felt comfortable denying what appeared to be an official request from a law enforcement official.

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