A Texas truck owner and the local sheriff are at odds over an “offensive” anti-Trump sticker on the vehicle.
The sheriff in Fort Bend County received many complaints about the white pickup truck sporting a large sticker on its tinted back window that read, “F*** Trump and F*** you for voting for him,” according to KPRC-TV
Sheriff Troy Nehls sparked a free speech debate online once he posted a photo of the truck and sticker on Facebook while threatening to bring disorderly conduct charges against the driver.
“I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359. If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you. Our Prosecutor has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it,” Nehls wrote in the post, which appears to have been deleted.
Karen Fonseca, whose husband owns the truck, was surprised to find herself in the middle of the controversy.
“I thought the whole thing was totally crazy. It’s been on there for such a long time and we have so much positive out of it — more positive that outweighs the negative,” she told KPRC.
“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” Fonseca said. “It’s just our freedom of speech and we’re exercising it.”
She also called out the sheriff for not speaking to her in person.
“Look, [the local news crew] found me. He could have done that at the same time, it is an invasion of privacy and everything else because he put me on blast on his Facebook Page,” she said.
The ACLU of Texas responded to Nehls’s post with one of their own, criticizing the sheriff for his threat.
“Memo to @SheriffTNehls: You can’t prosecute speech just because it contains the word “—-” The owner of this truck should contact @ACLUTx,” the post read, according to Fox News.
Many Twitter users debated the issue.
I guess that cop is not aware of freedom of speech laws! ✌?
— Rene Tremblay (@Beleafer1) November 16, 2017
Gonna leave this little section of the Texas Penal Code riiiiight here pic.twitter.com/evAIOHB9F6
— Brian Wyman (@Coach2Cop) November 16, 2017
I don’t agree with the public display of that message but I support his right to free speech. Find something better to do with your team Sheriff or let us all assume you have too much staff on your hands that the taxpayers are paying for.
— Hugh Brown (@Eagan101Hugh) November 16, 2017
As a Trump supporter people have a right to curse Trump as we all have free speech. The only thing that upsets me is that people will put this on their trucks for children to see. How stupid do you need to be? Free speech https://t.co/YLEiY8UhUi
— none (@dah1776) November 16, 2017
Her freedom of speech is going to get her tires slashed by those using freedom of expression. Lol
— rey (@reyster194) November 16, 2017
While not illegal, it is trashy behavior and shows a lack of character.
— Gary King (@gking255) November 16, 2017
At a news conference on Wednesday, Nehls said he understood the freedom of speech implications but would like to have a discussion with the owner about it.
“We have not threatened anybody with arrest. We have not written any citations,” Nehls said. “But I think now it would be a good time to have meaningful dialogue with that person and express the concerns out there regarding the language on the truck,” he said, according to Fox News.
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