Constitutional Law 101: It's Our Freedom of Speech and We're Exercising It, You Dimwit

Constitutional Law 101: It's Our Freedom of Speech and We're Exercising It, You Dimwit

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Talk about doubling down: A Texas woman threatened and arrested by a sketchy Repub sheriff affronted by her straight-talking truck decal - FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM - has not only added the sheriff's name to her roadside missive, but is considering filing a civil rights suit against him. The skirmish began last week after Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, evidently aggrieved by the big bold decal often seen streaking down local roads, posted a shot across the Facebook bow. "I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck," he wrote. "If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you." Nehls, who once famously said that criminal defendants entering court might just exit in a body bag, added by way of idle threat 'cause why not, "Our Prosecutor (sic) has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it," he said, citing the standards for such a charge. "I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it.”

Several people cognizant of that little matter of a First Amendment called bullshit on the threat: District Attorney John Healey said, "I did not believe it was a prosecutable case based on the definition of disorderly conduct," and the Texas ACLU urged the truck owner to call them, citing "Constitutional Law 101." Karen Fonseca, the truck's 46-year-old driver and co-owner with her husband Mike, was likewise skeptical. She was also in jail: She was arrested the next day on a 2014 alleged fraud charge she had no knowledge of. Released on $1,500 bail, she told reporters, “People abuse the badge, in my opinion.” Fonseca, a mother of 12 who used to work in law enforcement, said police had pulled her over before with no apparent reason other than, possibly, the decal. "It's not to cause hate or animosity. It's just our freedom of speech and we're exercising it," she said. "We wanted our statement out there. That’s our opinion on (Trump.)"

She also gotten feedback from locals. Most of the negative reactions have come from older white men. A sampling from a YouTube story - "Degenerate Communist/ Socialst (sic)/ Marxist...a leftist whore...Throw her anti American democrat piece of shit ass under jail" - captures their tone. But many others have stopped to take pictures and thank her. “A lot of females say ‘I wish I had the balls to do that,’" she notes. “It makes people happy. They smile. They stop you. They want to shake your hand.” Sheriff Nehls, meanwhile, got so much blowback he took down his Facebook page after arguing he was just trying to protect the public. "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," he explained, before ominously adding, "I think they're walking a fine line."

If so, it's fine by Fonseca, who clearly has no fucks left to give. By Sunday night had not only taken down the decal, but added to it: It now reads, "FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM. FUCK TROY NEHLS AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM." She retains her outrage at Trump and what he represents. "What are we teaching our next generation of presidents to be?" she asks. "If you can say ‘grab those women by the pussy...." And now she's just as pissed at Nehls; on Monday, she held a press conference to announce she's considering filing a civil rights suit against him. She was supported by an attorney and Texas State Rep. Ron Reynolds Reynolds, who cited the First Amendment's right to free speech and insisted, “A difference in political views does not give Sheriff Nehls the right to target citizens." Fonseca's daughter also spoke, declaring, "That's my hero right there." Same for us, said many on social media. Some posted racist, bellicose, gun-themed decals threatening to blow people away, a common sight in Texas, and wondered if Nehls was also offended by them. Others simply expressed support for that most radical of concepts, free speech, and Fonseca. "She's my new best friend," wrote one. "And fuck Trump."

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