And there she is, the window decal that caused such a stir in Fort Bend county in Texas, especially after the driver was arrested by a local sheriff named Nehls who claims he only sought to discuss the foul language with the driver displayed in the messaging on the truck. He said in a open social media post:
“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 post read before Sheriff Nehls decided to delete it, claiming he received threats to his family, which he has yet to provide proof of, nor has the supposed prosecutor been identified. It also turns out, the owner of the truck, Karen Fonseca, worked for the sheriff in the past at the county jail.
Of course, leave it to the internet to become crazed over this. People falsely believed that Fonseca had been arrested over the decal and her First Amendment rights curtailed by the sheriff, but she was actually arrested over a warrant for fraud that had been out on her since August. Fonseca points to the "mysterious" timing of her arrest given that she had basically just been called out on social media, and wondered why on earth the Sheriff would need to essentially put out a manhunt on social media to help find her when there are easier ways to find people that police use everyday.
The ACLU quickly took to posting to Facebook, in response to the story and Nehls original post, that:
“No, Sheriff Troy E. Nehls, you can’t prosecute speech just because it contains words you don’t like. The owner of this truck should contact the ACLU of Texas.”
Expected to be released shortly on bond, Fonseca said she put the custom made sticker on the back of her truck about 11 months ago, shortly after Trump was elected, saying her family was merely expressing their First Amendment right and voicing their dismay with President Donald Trump. She also says that people like the sticker, shake her hand, and tell her it makes them laugh; she has absolutely positively no plans to remove the sticker.
Personally, I am torn on this one because though I would like to believe wholeheartedly in our first amendment rights, I also know that I wouldn't want my young nephew, or a school bus full of young children having to see this. If the Sheriff was actually acting on the premise of just plain decency and wanting to discuss alternative language, I'd have no problems with that, but if this was actually about trying to fully suppress her rights to express her First Amendment rights, then to the constitution we go! Ultimately in either case, it's quite a slippery slope on what we determine is inappropriate speech, so you start here and then how quickly it all escalates.