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.
"I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359", the Facebook post read Wednesday.
"If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you".
The sheriff southwest of Houston put out a call for information, saying that a prosecutor had already told him that she could bring disorderly conduct charges. The Facebook post has since been deleted after receiving nearly 20,000 comments and more than 10,000 shares, but no license plate number was visible in the photo.
The sheriff's Facebook post sparked an intense discussion among commenters, with a number of them suggesting the First Amendment protected the phrase.
She said there was "no particular reason" they made a decision to stick the message on the back of the truck. "No Sheriff Nehls, you can't prosecute speech just because it contains words you don't like", ACLU said.
Others said they didn't want their children forced to see profanity on the road. "They smile. They stop you".
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"F-K TRUMP AND F-K YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM", screams the windshield-sized decal plastered on the back window of a pickup truck belonging to Karen Fonseca, 46, and her husband.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas asked the truck owner to contact the organization and offered the sheriff a free legal tip.
Texas penal code describes disorderly conduct as "intentionally or knowingly [using] 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".
"I'm glad to see our government officials are concentrating on what's important", one comment said.
"We are aware Troy is interested in abandoning his responsibilities as Sheriff weeks after being elected to serve Fort Bend", Olson campaign spokesperson Chris Homan responded. However, Nehls also specifically cited the "offensive language" on the truck as a cause for concern.
The Facebook post, as of Wednesday, was shared almost 5,000 times and had more than 9,000 comments.
"There's no law against freedom of speech, nothing in the law book here in Texas", she told KHOU-TV in Houston.