A Texas sheriff is under fire for making a Facebook post about his intention to take punitive measures against a truck driver displaying a bumper sticker declaring "FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM".
"If I had to explain what "grab them by the p--y" meant to my kids, you can explain "F-k Trump" to yours", another Facebook comment on the post read.
In Nehls' now-deleted post, which was saved and shared by the ACLU, the sheriff asked anyone who knows the owner of the truck to contact his office.
Nehls says he wants to slap the couple with disorderly conduct charges for "inciting immediate breach of the peace", he said, in a Facebook post citing Texas state law.
"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 sheriff wrote. "They're like, 'We wish that we could do this and we had enough guts to do it, and you're doing it, '" Fonseca said.
"Many families have called that have seen that truck on our county roadways and are very offended by the language on the truck", Nehls said. She said there was "no particular reason" they made a decision to stick the message on the back of the truck.
And, apparently, the county's prosecutor is on board, ready to file Disorderly Conduct charges.
Sheriff Troy Nehls said that the truck driver could be prosecuted under a law about inciting breaches of peace
"Hey Sheriff Snowflake, how about you get out and fight some real crimes?" wrote a commenter.
"Constitutional Law 101: You can't ban speech just because it has "f@ck" in it", the organization commented. The owners, Karen and Mike Fonseca, however, were stunned to learn they could soon be charged with misdemeanors.
Some said the sheriff was threatening Fonseca's right to freedom of speech.
"It's hard to believe that a simple sticker could cause so much arousal", Fonseca said Thursday before her arrest.
Facebook users responded to Nehls' post with plenty of criticism.
The decal has gone viral several times, she said, and she gets plenty of feedback on the road. KPRC 2 spoke with a legal analyst who cited the 1971 Supreme Court case Cohen v. California, which overturned a man's conviction who had been charged with disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket that proclaimed the message "f*ck the draft" in a public courthouse.
Profanity is sometimes, but not always, protected under the First Amendment's right to free speech.
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