On Wednesday, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls put a Texas woman on blast on his private Facebook page, posting an image of her car’s “Fuck Trump” decal sticker in an effort to find her. On Thursday the driver, identified as Karen Fonseca, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
Buzzfeed reports that Nehls’s original Facebook post was removed after it started a viral shitstorm. In it, he wrote that he had received numerous calls about the decal, and as a result was considering charging the car’s owner with “disorderly conduct.” This blatant attack on free speech from an officer of the law naturally caused considerable backlash, including a public message from the ACLU, who suggested Fonesca call them:
The sheriff’s office issued a statement about why Nehls deleted his post, saying his family was being threatened:
“The objective of the post was to find the owner/driver of the truck and have a conversation with them in order to prevent a potential altercation between the truck driver and those offended by the message,” the office said. “Since the owner of the truck has been identified, the Sheriff took down the post. Due to the hate messages he has been receiving towards his wife and children, the Sheriff will not be commenting on the matter further.”
Nehls also held a press conference on Wednesday, arguing that the sticker targeted Trump voters, who would potentially see the message and that would be a “breach in the peace.” Nehls’s post also did what he wanted: he found Fonseca. Though he stated during the press conference that he would not be charging her with disorderly conduct, she was arrested on Thursday afternoon.
The department received a tip that Fonesca had an outstanding felony warrant for possessing and using a fake I.D. Her bail was set at $1,500. Before her arrest, Fonesca was aware of the brewing controversy, and spoke with CNN about the sticker, saying it’s not the first time it has gone viral on social media (!!):
“We wanted our statement out there. That’s our opinion on him,” she said.
She says that at times they receive negative reactions, especially from “older white men,” but most people laugh or ask where they can get one.
“A lot of females say I wish I had the balls to do that,” she said.
Fonseca, who has children, said she’s heard the criticism from some parents. But she said that having children doesn’t make you lose your freedom of speech.
“I’m not going to remove it because I know I’m not violating any laws or rules,” she said.
Fonesca was released on Thursday night, and yes, she did tell reporters that she is suspicious about the timing of her arrest.
“People abuse the badge, in my opinion, and money talks,” she said.