Free speech is not free in Texas, it seems. Fort Bend County sheriff, Troy Nehls arrested one woman who posted an anti-Trump message in the back window of her pickup, but she got even.
Karen Fonseca’s message read, according to Law & Crime:
‘F**k Trump and f**k You For Voting For Him.’
“He actually put us out there and more recognized than it ever has been before,” Fonseca says of Sheriff Nehls sharing a photo of the truck. “And to me, it’s been coming back as a positive for going ahead standing up and not backing down.” https://t.co/Ci8jovCNuL pic.twitter.com/9E3uhacrnt
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 20, 2017
Driver with F-Trump sticker adds Sheriff Troy Nehls to truck display | @CourtneyABC13 is live in Fort Bend County with what the sheriff is saying about it ahead of his press conference this morning at 10. pic.twitter.com/FaD1gRKKc0
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) November 20, 2017
Nehls put a photo of Fonseca’s truck on his personal Facebook page, and Law & Crime reported that he wrote:
‘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.’
A disorderly charge in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor. The punishment is a fine not to exceed $500.
Nehls’ post went viral. People shared it over 10,000 times, and most of the feedback was negative. The Facebook viewers mocked the sheriff. Nearly 20,000 others were thunderstruck that the man was ignorant of the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech or, worse, that he might be ignoring the law.
Not long after his post went viral, Nehls deleted it, and his office issued a statement reading:
‘The Sheriff made the post on his Personal page. The objective of the post was to find the owner/driver of the truck and have a conversation with them in order to prevent a potential altercation between the truck driver and those offended by the message. Since the owner of the truck has been identified, the Sheriff took down the post. Due to the hate messages he has been receiving towards his wife and children, the Sheriff will not be commenting on the matter further.’
Later, Nehls later arrested Fonseca on unrelated charges. She was at home, and her six-year-old daughter witnessed the take-down. The woman and her husband believed that the arrest was revenge for her bumper sticker. Fonseca said:
‘People abuse the badge, in my opinion, and money talks.’
Fonseca and her Texas State representative, Ron Reynolds, held a press conference Monday to:
‘Discuss the injustice.’
‘We have to protect people’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech. A difference in political views does not give Sheriff Nehls the right to target citizens. These actions by Sheriff Nehls could be an abuse of his law enforcement authority.’
The woman who owns the “F—— Trump” pickup truck has posted bond after she was arrested on a warrant not related to the controversial window decal. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls first brought attention to the truck in a Facebook post which he has since deleted. pic.twitter.com/IU9VdJLD4t
— FOX26Houston (@Fox26Houston) November 17, 2017
MSNBC’s co-host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough commented:
‘”Someone got mad” is not a breach of the public peace lmao.’
Jacqui O Siacailin, wrote:
‘Right… And liberals are the snowflakes who are always offended…What a bunch of vindictive little babies you are. I’m embarrassed for you. I truly am. Delete this, pretend it never happened, and hope people forget about it after enough time has passed.’
Not all of the comments were negative. Linzi Bee wrote on Facebook:
‘I’ve seen this truck, and I would pleased (sic) if the owner of this vehicle was prosecuted for disorderly conduct. My children saw this, and I was infuriated they were subjected to this offensive display.’
Even the ACLU admonished Nehls on his Facebook page.
The Texas state statute on disorderly conduct reads:
‘(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
(1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
(2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace.’
Nehls is thinking about running for Congress against incumbent Republican Representative Pete Olson in Texas’ 22nd congressional district.
Featured Image via KPRC’s Twitter Page.
H/T: Law & Crime.