A Sheriff Went After These Texans for Their 'FUCK TRUMP' Sticker
The sheriff threatened to charge them with disorderly conduct, leading the ACLU to teach him a lesson in "Constitutional Law 101."
Photo via ACLU of Texas
After Donald Trump won the presidency, Karen Fonseca and her husband decided to dress up their pickup truck with a custom decal—a giant, bold sticker emblazoned with the words: "FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM."
Their custom accessory has been upsetting some residents of Fort Bend County, Texas, so much that the sheriff's phone has been blowing up with complaints, the Houston Chronicle reports. Sheriff Troy Nehls hopped on Facebook Wednesday to address the driver behind the "offensive display": Get in touch, he wrote in a since-deleted post, or run the risk of getting charged with disorderly conduct.
The sheriff's post blew up on Facebook, sparking a fiery debate between free-speech advocates and folks offended by the decal. "My children saw this," one commenter wrote, "and I was infuriated they were subjected to this offensive display." Another defended the Fonsecas' First Amendment rights: "You have a problem with political speech?" he wrote. "Great. Resign, and spend your days trying to amend the Constitution. In the meantime, the first amendment is clear, and you are in the wrong."
Just hours after the sheriff's post went up, the ACLU of Texas weighed in on the debate, pointing to a Supreme Court precedent that protects using vulgar language in public.
By late Wednesday, Sheriff Nehls—a Republican reportedly mulling a run for Congress—called a press conference to address the controversy, the Associated Press reports. He backpedaled on his thinly veiled threat to charge the Fonsecas with disorderly conduct, instead saying he supported freedom of speech. Still, he said, the decal could spark some kind of road rage-fueled incident, which wouldn't be good for anyone involved.
"We have not threatened anybody with arrest. We have not written any citations," he said at the press conference. "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."
Karen Fonseca, who apparently used to work for Nehls at the county jail at one point, told the Chronicle she has no plans to take the decal off her husband's truck.
"It's not to cause hate or animosity," Fonseca told the Chronicle. "It's just our freedom of speech and we're exercising it."
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