The owner of pickup truck that drew attention this week because of a profane anti-Trump sticker was arrested in Houston on Thursday on an outstanding warrant.
Karen Fonseca was arrested about 2 p.m. on an outstanding fraud warrant issued in August by the Rosenberg, Texas, Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office records show.
Mike Fonseca, her husband, posted her $1,500 bond Thursday night and she was released an hour later, Houston’s KHOU-TV reported.
A sheriff’s spokesman didn’t respond to a message seeking details about the warrant.
Previously, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls threatened Fonseca with a disorderly conduct charge over the decal. However, District Attorney John Healey said he didn’t think the case would have stood up in court because of First Amendment protections on free speech.
Fonseca defended her right to keep the sticker on the vehicle.
“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” Fonseca, 46, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s just our freedom of speech and we’re exercising it.”
Fonseca said the message has been on the rear window of the pickup for nearly a year and it’ll stay there for the time being.
“There’s no law against freedom of speech, nothing in the law book here in Texas,” she told KHOU-TV. “I’ve been stopped numerous times, but they can’t write me a ticket.”
Nehls on Wednesday posted a photo of the profane sticker on his Facebook page, threatening the then-unidentified Fonseca with a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said Thursday that Nehls removed the post after Fonseca 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,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
Lynne Rambo, a law professor at Texas A&M University specializing in First Amendment issues, said Thursday that a 1971 Supreme Court case made two points clear: the state’s attempt to regulate profanity or civil discourse is not a sufficient reason to justify restricting speech, and profane language directed at a specific person is different from vulgar content that’s broadly disseminated.
“It’s state action to threaten as (Nehls) did and he really ought to know First Amendment law better than that,” Rambo said.
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.
The Fort Bend County district attorney has no plans to file charges over the sticker, KHOU reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.