A Texas sheriff reportedly threatened to bring disorderly conduct charges against a truck driver for displaying a profane anti-Trump sticker on the rear window of the vehicle.
Sheriff Troy Nehls in Ford Bend County stated that he had received many complaints about the sticker, which read: “F— TRUMP AND F— YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM.”
Nehls posted a photo of the truck and the offending sticker on his Facebook page with the following message:
“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.”
The truck’s driver reportedly turned out to be Karen Fonseca, 46, a former employee of Nehls’ department at the county jail. She said the truck belongs to her husband but that she sometimes drives it. The sticker was put on shortly after Trump was sworn into office in January.
“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” Fonseca said. “It’s just our freedom of speech and we’re exercising it.”
Meanwhile, Nehls’ message on Facebook drew criticism from the ACLU of Texas, which posted on its Facebook page: “Memo to @SheriffTNehls: You can’t prosecute speech just because it contains the word “—-” The owner of this truck should contact @ACLUTx”
At a news conference later Wednesday, Nehls seemed to back down from the idea of pursuing charges, saying he supports freedom of speech and acknowledging a 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned the conviction of a man for disturbing the peace by wearing a jacket with an expletive as part of an effort to protest the military draft and the Vietnam War.
“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.”