RICHMOND, Texas - The woman with the profane sticker on her pickup referring to President Donald Trump and his supporters held a news conference Monday on the steps of the Fort Bend County Courthouse.
Karen Fonseca and her attorney said they felt that Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls trampled on her First Amendment right to free speech.
The news conference came days after Fonseca added a "F*** Troy Nehls" message to her sticker.
Why did Fonseca add to her display on the back of her truck?
"It's not two wrongs make a right," Fonseca said. "It's making my statement and saying, 'If you're going to put me on blast and you want to gain some votes, let's put the real Troy out there and give you what you wanted.'"
What does Fonseca’s lawyer plan to do?
Attorney Brian Middleton said he said he would like the FBI and the Texas Rangers to investigate Nehls. He also said it is possible that he could file a civil rights claim against the office, and that the American Civil Liberties Uniont has also expressed interest in the case.
"This is protected speech," Middleton said. "So anyone who has a sticker like this is within their rights under the U.S. Constitution."
What did Fonseca’s teenage children say about the attention?
"I just don't like how everyone in my family is now getting these messages," said Lacie Lev, one of Fonseca's daughters. "Like, what is he going to do about the situation? Like we're getting, 'F your family and stuff.' That's disrespectful. Like, you don't know us. You're just hearing what you're hearing right now."
What do we know about the outstanding warrant for which Fonseca was arrested?
"It's an individual involving an individual that she resided with back in 2014," Middleton said. "I'm just beginning my investigation, so I'm not at liberty to discuss all of the details."
How is Sheriff Nehls responding to this?
Nehls released the following statement after Monday's news conference:
"Last week, I received complaints from Fort Bend County residents regarding the window sticker on her truck, which states, 'F*** Trump, and f*** you for voting for him.' The residents informed me they were offended at the language displayed on the truck, and I asked for a photo. I received the photo of the truck with the sticker, but the photo failed to display the license plate number of the truck.
"I asked my office to post the photo of the truck with the sticker on my 'Sheriff Troy Nehls' Facebook page, and obscured the offensive language. The intent behind the post was to identify the owner of the truck with the intent on speaking with that person(s) and have a conversation with the owner regarding the complaints I received and a possible modification of the sticker. My post also included my office phone number.
"As a result of the posting, we received information which helped us identify the owner of the truck. Once we identified the owner of the truck, we took down the post. As a result of the publicity, we also received information that Karen Fonseca was wanted on a Felony warrant pursuant to a grand jury indictment.
"Once we verified the outstanding warrant, steps were taken to serve the warrant. This warrant was served in a professional manner and without publicity on the part of the Sheriff’s Office. It is to be noted that the case surrounding this warrant was not one investigated by the Sheriff’s Office; we only served the Felony warrant.
"The facts in this case as I see them are that Karen Fonseca wanted to place her feelings into the public realm by driving around with an obscenity on her vehicle. She got just that -- much public recognition. This recognition did not cause her to be indicted by a grand jury for Felony Fraud (this happened back in August of 2017), but it did bring the subsequent warrant to our attention and we did our job by arresting her.
"In the beginning of this incident, I was hopeful that the person driving around with an obscenity for full view of all (including children) would be reasonable and would be willing to talk about coming to an agreed solution that satisfied her 1st Amendment rights while respecting the rights of parents and others offended by this display of an obscenity.
"Having heard her talk in the public since the beginning of this, I am now quite aware that no such hope for a calm and reasonable discussion exists with her. This is sad and I hope that in the end she can come to see that just because citizens may have the legal right to do something, it does not always make it the right thing to do.
"Neither I nor the Sheriff’s Office will be issuing further statements concerning this matter as it relates to these now past events as it only serves to bring added publicity to this display of obscenity."
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