A Texas sheriff on Wednesday suggested criminal charges are possible for the owner of a white truck that bears a profane message for President Donald Trump and his supporters, sparking a debate about the line between obscene words and freedom of speech.
"F-k Trump and f-k you for voting for him", reads the sticker on the back of a GMC Sierra broadcast via Facebook by Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.
"I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359".
Karen Fonseca told the Houston Chronicle that her husband owns the truck, which has been pulled over by officers who could not find a reason to write a ticket.
Another commenter, Linzi Bee, wrote, "I've seen this truck, and I would (be) pleased if the owner of this vehicle was prosecuted for disorderly conduct".
The post has since been deleted.
"I'm offended that a sheriff in the USA would harass an American citizen over political speech", comments Jason.
Mike Fonseca said the sticker would remain on his truck. But she said that having children doesn't make you lose your freedom of speech. "They smile. They stop you", said Fonseca. It reads, in part, "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 peace".
Karen Forsenca said she and her husband have had the decal on their truck for nearly a year.
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union offered to help Fonseca - and provided Nehls with a "Constitutional Law 101" lesson: "You can't ban speech just because it has [expletive] in it".
"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", Nehls said.
Hours after Nehls' post went up, the ACLU of Texas slammed the sheriff for threatening free speech, citing a Supreme Court decision that overturned a conviction for disturbing the peace because the defendant wore a jacket with profanity on it.
The Facebook post, as of Wednesday, was shared almost 5,000 times and had more than 9,000 comments.
District Attorney John Healey disputed Nehls' suggestion that disorderly conduct charges were appropriate in this case, as did free speech advocates.