Obscenity arrest sparks 1st Amendment claim
A Lake City man was arrested Sunday afternoon for a window sticker that a deputy alleged violates a state obscenity law.
Dillon Shane Webb, 23, of Southeast Dan Court, faces charges of possession of obscene material, a first-degree misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, also a first-degree misdemeanor, after he refused to remove a sticker on his rear window that said, “I eat ass,” according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office report.
Around 5:50 p.m. Sunday, a deputy saw a brown Chevrolet truck traveling west on U.S. Highway 90 and noticed the sticker.
The deputy claimed the sticker violates Florida Statute 847.011, which deals with possession and distribution of obscene material.
When the deputy confronted Webb and a passenger about the sticker, Webb said they were “just words,” according to the report.
The deputy asked Webb how “a parent of a small child would explain the meaning of the words,” to which Webb replied that it would be “up to the parent,” the report states.
The deputy issued Webb a notice to appear at the Columbia County Courthouse on May 23 before taking a photograph of the sticker to place into evidence.
After issuing the notice to appear, the deputy asked Dillon to remove one of the letters from the word “ass” so the statement would “no longer be derogatory.”
Webb refused, citing his First Amendment right, according to the report.
The deputy detained Webb and placed him into a patrol car.
Webb was taken to Columbia County Detention Facility “without incident, where he was charged with obscene writing on vehicles and resisting an officer without violence,” the report states.