FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — The window decal on a pickup truck has gone from a public nuisance to a full fledged debate about constitutional rights after the leading sheriff in Fort Bend County posted a controversial Facebook message directed at its owner.
"I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck," Sheriff Troy Nehls said in a Facebook message. "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."
"About the sticker, I found it inside a store. It was a little bumper sticker. So I figured out I'd blow it up bigger, so that way they can see it," truck owner Mike Fonesca told NewsFix.
Some question the county's authority to bring charges against someone for what appears to be free speech— even with an F-bomb.
"I don't see where we're disturbing the peace for any sort of means,” Mike’s wife, Karen, said. “It's just a freedom of speech statement."
However, not all speech is protected.
Every community has its own standards, and Nehls posted that a gesture or display that disturbs the peace can result in a disorderly conduct charge under Texas law.
"There's worse bumper stickers out there as well," Karen commented.
Still, the sheriff received plenty of heated comments about his post.
Mike Fonesca declared, "It's staying on there until I see on the law book that I have to remove it."