A Lake City, Fla., man with a crude sticker on the back window of his Chevy truck ended up in the Columbia County jail Sunday after he refused to alter the offending words, citing his right to free speech.
A Columbia County sheriff’s deputy pulled the pickup over on U.S. 90 around 5:50 p.m. after seeing the sticker — which stated “I EAT A**” in white letters, according to an arrest report. The deputy considered the statement a violation of Florida obscenity laws.
The driver and owner of the truck, Dillon Shane Webb, 23, became defensive when the deputy explained why he had been pulled over.
“They’re just words,” he said, according to the deputy’s account.
“I then asked Dillon how a parent of a small child would explain the meaning of the words,” the report says. Webb responded that it would be up to the parent.
The deputy issued a notice to appear on the obscenity violation, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Then, the deputy wrote, “I allowed him to remove one of the letters from the word ‘A**’ so the statement would no longer be derogatory.” But, he said, Webb refused to do so, citing the First Amendment.
That’s when the deputy arrested him on a charge of resisting an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanor, and took him to jail. The truck was towed.
Bail was set at $2,500, and Webb was released at 8:50 that evening.
The court file does not list an attorney representing Webb.