A Lake City man with a crude sticker on the back window of his Chevy truck ended up in the Columbia County jail after he refused to alter the offending words, citing his right to free speech.
Dillon Shane Webb, 23, was charged with misdemeanor counts of violating Florida’s obscenity law and resisting an officer without violence when he refused to remove the sticker from his truck. Webb had told the Associated Press that the arresting Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy seemed angry from the beginning of the traffic stop.
According to Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Webb violated Florida’s obscenity law for having the words “I EAT ASS” written on the back window of his pickup truck.
According to the police report, when the deputy confronted Webb in a traffic stop for his “derogatory” sticker, Webb defended the sticker as “just words.” The deputy then asked him how a parent of a small child would explain the words, to which Webb replied that it would be up to the parent to explain.
Webb was even asked if he could remove one of the letters “s” on the decal so instead of saying I Eat Ass it would read I Eat As. He refused, citing his First Amendment rights. Webb was taken to the Columbia County Detention facility where he was charged with obscene writing on vehicles and resisting a police officer without violence.
Florida’s obscenity law characterizes violators as “a person who knowingly has in his or her possession, custody, or control any obscene book, magazine, periodical, pamphlet, newspaper, comic book, story paper, written or printed story or article, writing, paper, card, picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture film, film, any sticker, decal, emblem or other device attached to a motor vehicle containing obscene description…”
According to Opposing Views:
Andrew Bonderud, Webb’s attorney, says that his client’s refusal to take down what he thought protected his right or freedom of speech was a show of bravery. He added in his statement that Webb showed courage on his part.
By Thursday, Webb’s charges were dropped, and a statement was released by John Foster Durrett, the Assistant State Attorney. In his statement, he indicated that the Defendant, Webb, had a valid defense to his arrest raised under the United States Constitution’s First Amendment.
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