Artistic Expression

Sticker Shock: Charges Dropped Against Man Arrested For “Obscene” Car Decal

REUTERS/Andy Clark

A Florida man who was arrested for refusing to alter a car decal a deputy claimed was “obscene” will not be prosecuted, officials said yesterday.

Dillon Shane Webb was arrested and charged earlier this week by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for violating 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 then issued a notice to appear in court, and was offered the opportunity to remove one of the letters to make the statement not “derogatory.” 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…”

A lawyer for Webb told BuzzFeed News that they are considering pursuing “a number of potential claims” against the sheriff’s office.

BuzzFeed News Lake City Reporter Gainesville Sun Associated Press