Thursday 9 May 2019

Florida man jailed over a sticker on his pickup vows to sue for wrongful arrest

A Florida man says he's ready to file a wrongful arrest lawsuit, after being hauled to jail for refusing to alter a sticker on the back of his truck.

What are the details?

Dillon Webb was pulled over by a Columbia County Sheriff's deputy Sunday, after the officer spotted a sticker reading "I eat ass" on the back of the 23-year-old's Chevy. According to the Lake City Reporter, the deputy claimed the sticker violates Florida law, issued Webb a notice to appear in court, and took a picture of the sticker as evidence.
The deputy then asked Webb to remove part of the sticker so it would "no longer be derogatory," but Webb refused, citing his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
With that, the officer detained Webb and hauled him to the station, "where he was charged with obscene writing on vehicles and resisting an officer without violence," the sheriff's office report states.
Webb's truck was towed and he was released from jail hours later on a $2,500 bond. Now, he says he's suing.
Webb told The Associated Press, "I'm tired of police forces thinking they are above the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.
"Like, the whole time, he was just really rude," Webb said of the deputy. "It just felt to me like his goal was to get me in jail."
During the traffic stop, the deputy reportedly asked Webb how a parent of a young child would explain the meaning of his signage, to which Webb replied, "it would be up to the parent."
Webb also acknowledged to the AP that the sticker could be interpreted as vulgar by some, but noted, "What's vulgar to me might not be vulgar to somebody else."

Anything else?

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida issued a statement in response to Webb's arrest, asking, "Shouldn't police officers spend their time serving and protecting communities and not pulling Floridians over for speech that is already protected by the First Amendment? Using the excuse that a child would see and ask questions about this particular bumper sticker is absurd," Newsweek reported.
Sgt. Murray Smith of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the department stands behind their deputy's actions, telling the AP, "If the law is faulty, then the legislature can address that, or if the law is unconstitutional, then the judiciary will address it."

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