The driver of a pickup displaying an expletive-filled message to US President Donald Trump and his supporters in the Houston area was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office records show Karen Fonseca was arrested about 2 pm yesterday on an outstanding fraud warrant issued in August by the Rosenberg Police Department. She remained in the county jail last night with bond set at $1,500. A sheriff’s spokesman has not answered a message seeking details behind the warrant.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls had threatened Fonseca with a disorderly conduct charge over the decal. However, District Attorney John Healey said he didn’t think it would have been a prosecutable case.
Fonseca had said she would not remove the decal. She said she had been stopped by law officers, but that they have no grounds to issue a citation.
“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” the 46-year-old Fonseca told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s just our freedom of speech and we’re exercising it.”
Nehls on Wednesday posted a photo of the truck message on Facebook alongside a request to speak with the driver.
Nehls in his post said that a county prosecutor told him the message could warrant a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
But at a news conference later Wednesday, he seemed to back away from that idea. Nehls said he supports freedom of speech but worried that profane messages could incite others and lead to confrontations that would disturb the peace he’s pledged to keep.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, which covers the county just southwest of Houston, said Thursday that Nehls’ post was removed once the pickup driver was identified.
“Due to the hate messages he has been receiving toward his wife and children, the sheriff will not be commenting on the matter further,” spokeswoman Caitilin Espinosa said by email.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas posted on Facebook that Fonseca’s message is protected speech and urged her to reach out to the organization. The ACLU noted a 1971 US Supreme Court case that overturned the conviction of a man for disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket with an expletive as part of an effort to protest the military draft and the Vietnam War.