The woman who put an “F**k Trump” sticker on her truck has been arrested by authorities in Texas.
Earlier this week, a picture posted on social media by Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls showed a picture of a white pickup truck with the words “F**k Trump, and F**k You For Voting For Him.” Nehls caused controversy with his post when he said he wanted to find the driver of the truck and bring disorderly conduct charges for displaying it.
While many cheered his intent, others questioned if it was legal, and said Sheriff Nehls was violating the First Amendment by wanting to arrest the driver.
As it turned out, Nehls never had to follow through on his threat, as the driver was arrested Thursday night, on an outstanding warrant for fraud, unrelated to the sticker. In actuality, having the sticker made it easier for the sheriff to find and arrest her.
Karen Fonseca was arrested on the warrant and eventually posted bail on the charge. The sheriff took no action on the sticker.
Nehls told the Houston Chronicle that he had received calls, texts and emails in recent days from people who took offense at the language in bold, white lettering: “F— TRUMP AND F— YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM.”
The sheriff, a Republican who is weighing a bid for Congress shared a photo on his official Facebook page in hopes that it would help to identify the truck owner. The license plate is not visible in the image.
Karen Fonseca said the truck belongs to her husband but that she often drives it. They had the sticker made and added it to the window after the billionaire real estate magnate and reality TV star was sworn into office.
The sticker has attracted attention many times before, Fonseca said. People shake their head. They take photos of it. Officers have pulled her over but failed to find a reason for writing a ticket.
Now the sheriff is taking it on, but Fonseca did not plan to contact him.
“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” said Fonseca, 46. “It’s just our freedom of speech and we’re exercising it.”
Concerned that the language could incite a confrontation on county roadways, Nehls said he wanted to have a conversation with the truck owner. Trump-related stickers have triggered road-rage incidents around the country.
“I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359,” Nehls wrote in his original post. “If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you.”
Nehls wrote on Facebook that a county prosecutor had agreed to accept disorderly conduct charges — an opinion that District Attorney John Healey disputes, as does the ACLU of Texas.
“Many families have called that have seen that truck on our county roadways and are very offended by the language on the truck,” Nehls said. “I think they’re walking a fine line.”
Healey, a Republican not seeking re-election next year, said he wished the sheriff’s office had contacted him earlier about the incendiary issue. He said he did not receive a call until around the same time the comments were posted. In disagreeing with his own prosecutor, Healey noted that his office lacked any information about how the public was reacting to the truck.
“I did not believe it was a prosecutable case based on the definition of disorderly conduct,” Healey said.
The ACLU of Texas, meanwhile, responded to the sheriff on Facebook.
“Constitutional Law 101: You can’t ban speech just because it has ‘[email protected]’ in it,” the organization posted. “Hey truck owner, feel free to contact the ACLU of Texas.”
The sheriff’s post quickly went viral, and his office decided to hold a hastily-called afternoon press conference, citing “the high volume of interview requests.”
Fonseca has yet to comment further on the matter.
Here is video on the arrest from KDFW, the CBS affiliate in Dallas.