Florida man arrested after refusing to remove ‘vulgar’ sticker from truck, vows to fight for free speech rights

In what may be a poor choice of events to lead up one’s 15 minutes of fame, a Florida man finds himself in the limelight over a questionable bumper sticker.

A bumper sticker that proudly declared: “I eat *ss.”

Dillon Shane Webb, 23, was stopped after a Columbia County deputy noticed the sticker on the rear window of his pick up truck, according to the Lake City Reporter.

Claiming the sticker violated Florida Statute 847.011, which deals with possession and distribution of obscene material, the deputy charged Webb with possession of obscene material, a first-degree misdemeanor, the paper reported.

Webb was also charged with resisting arrest, also a first-degree misdemeanor, after he cited his First Amendment rights in refusing to remove the sticker.

When questioned by the deputy about the message being portrayed, Webb responded by saying they were “just words,” according to the police report.

Also asked how “a parent of a small child would explain the meaning of the words,” he replied that it would be “up to the parent.”

Speaking with the Associated Press, Webb claimed that the deputy seemed angry from the start of the traffic stop.

Webb told the AP that he plans to defend his First Amendment right to free speech for the sticker that was on his truck for less than a week when he was pulled over.

“I’m tired of police forces thinking they are above the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” he said.

While not aware of the state’s obscenity law, Webb said what’s seen as offensive can differ from one person to the next.

What’s vulgar to me might not be vulgar to somebody else,” he told the news agency.

Florida Statute 847.011 prohibits “certain acts in connection with obscene, lewd, etc., materials; penalty.”

The statute reads like lawmakers on an all-night bender:

(1)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c), any person who knowingly sells, lends, gives away, distributes, transmits, shows, or transmutes, or offers to sell, lend, give away, distribute, transmit, show, or transmute, or has in his or her possession, custody, or control with intent to sell, lend, give away, distribute, transmit, show, transmute, or advertise in any manner, any obscene book, magazine, periodical, pamphlet, newspaper, comic book, story paper, written or printed story or article, writing, paper, card, picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture film, figure, image, phonograph record, or wire or tape or other recording, or any written, printed, or recorded matter of any such character which may or may not require mechanical or other means to be transmuted into auditory, visual, or sensory representations of such character, or any article or instrument for obscene use, or purporting to be for obscene use or purpose; or who knowingly designs, copies, draws, photographs, poses for, writes, prints, publishes, or in any manner whatsoever manufactures or prepares any such material, matter, article, or thing of any such character; or who knowingly writes, prints, publishes, or utters, or causes to be written, printed, published, or uttered, any advertisement or notice of any kind, giving information, directly or indirectly, stating, or purporting to state, where, how, of whom, or by what means any, or what purports to be any, such material, matter, article, or thing of any such character can be purchased, obtained, or had; or who in any manner knowingly hires, employs, uses, or permits any person knowingly to do or assist in doing any act or thing mentioned above, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

 

Never mind that for the rabid left, “F–k Trump” merchandise, be it bumper stickers, t-shirts or coffee mugs, are all the rage now.

And while there are important free speech issues at stake here, social media users also had a little fun over the story.

Here’s a sampling of some of the responses from Twitter:

https://twitter.com/DSmythTheMyth18/status/1126136457092055041

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Tom Tillison

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