Trump Supporter Received “Indecent Sign” Legal Citation for Anti-Biden Flag

June 17, 2021 Updated 3:53 PM ET


Sunday, a Trump supporter in Punta Gorda, Florida, was given a citation from local police for displaying an “indecent sign” on his truck.

The citation references Punta Gorda ordinance 9A-13(C)(8)/26-11.5(Z) and reads “WARNING – INDECENT SIGN.” The new ordinance was ratified June 2nd and it bans “indecent speech.” 

Body camera footage released from the Punta Gorda Police Department (PGPD) shows the officer investigating the political flags on the Trump supporters’ pickup trucks. The officer later explains to the Trump supporters that the ordinance being cited is “complaint driven” and that it is “not for [him] to make the determination” regarding the new law’s constitutionality.

The trucks were parked outside a business complex next to a main road. One flag read “F**k Biden.”

Another video uploaded Monday shows a woman receiving a similar citation from PGPD for displaying the word “F**k” on it.

The officer argues to the woman that code prohibits “anything that could be sexually offensive, anything associated with sexual organs, things of that nature.” 

Upon the woman citing the existence of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the officer says “ma’am, I’m not going argue with you …  We were given a specific order and we are carrying it out.” 

Sworn law enforcement officers of Punta Gorda take an oath to “support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” 

The new Punta Gorda ordinance is drawing outcry from residents who value free speech rights. The First Amendment prohibits government from regulating any speech. Legitimate calls to action or threats that present a clear and present danger are not considered free speech and are not protected.

Obscenity is a legal term that has been long debated in constitutional law. Punta Gorda lawmakers are arguing that words like the one displayed on the woman’s shirt are obscene and are not constitutionally protected.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Miller v. California that obscene content can be determined via the Miller test. The three-pronged test involves whether the work appeals to “prurient interest,” if it described sexual content in an offensive way, and if it lacks “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” 

Critics point out that the new Punta Gorda law uses a definition of obscenity that runs contrary to case law.

In a video from the Punta Gorda City Council, they defend the ordinance, arguing “free speech is not absolute.”

At the time of reporting, there are no constitutional challenges to the city’s new ordinance.

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