Florida Man Arrested After Refusing to Remove Obscene Sticker From Chevrolet Pickup Truck
The 23-year-old cited his First Amendment rights to inform the world about his love of eating donkey.
Florida man is at it again. A 23-year-old Floridian arrested for displaying a vulgar sticker on his Chevrolet pickup is fighting back, according to the Lake City Reporter, declaring that the arrest violates his First Amendment rights.
The sticker, which read "I Eat Ass," was proudly displayed on the back of Dillon Shane Webb's Chevy while he traveled west along U.S. Highway 90. Just before 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, a Columbia County Sheriff's deputy noticed Webb's sticker and proceeded to pull the vehicle over.
Webb was approached by the deputy who informed him why he was being pulled over. The driver rebutted by telling the deputy that the sticker was "just words."
The officer cited Florida Statute 847.011, a law which prohibits certain material deemed to be obscene or lewd, and asked how the "parent of a small child would explain the meaning of the words." Webb told the deputy that it would be "up to the parent" to explain. Shortly thereafter, he was issued a notice to appear by the officer and asked to remove one of the letters in the word "ass" to make the sticker less obscene. Webb cited his First Amendment right to free speech and refused.
A photo of the sticker was taken by the deputy who then placed the driver under arrest and had his truck towed away. Webb was charged for having obscene writing on his vehicle, as well as resisting an officer without violence.
The Drive reached out to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office for comment and the evidential photo of Webb's truck, but we did not receive a response at the time of writing.
It's fairly common to see states issue refusals or retractions on DMV-issued license plates, but a sticker that anybody can buy on the internet and display on their vehicle is a bit more of a fuzzy subject. In order to convict Webb, a Florida court would need to determine that the sticker appeals to the prurient interest, meaning that the sticker would be viewed as shameful or degrading to the average person.
Even so, it hasn't been unheard of for courts to reverse rulings or refuse to uphold convictions where drivers were arrested for "obscene" bumper stickers. Both Alabama and Georgia have done just this in 1991 (Baker v. Glover and Cunningham v. State, respectively). The Alabama case revolved around a sticker which read "How’s My Driving? Call 1-800-EAT SHIT!," while Georgia's focused on a bumper sticker that displayed "Shit Happens." It's not clear how far Webb will go to fight his conviction, so following this particular story could be quite interesting in the long run.