Police in Texas reportedly confiscated a woman’s yard sign after a Republican official shared photos of what he deemed an offensive display, according to the Dallas Morning News.
> Marion Stanford expected the political sign she painted to rile up some folks in her small town of Hamilton in Central Texas.
> But she didn’t expect to end up in a heated Facebook exchange with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, or for the police to show up to confiscate her sign.
What did the hand-painted sign depict?
> The sign features the GOP elephant logo with its trunk up the dress of a female figure, with the word “Help,” next to the phrase “Your vote matters.” Behind it in her yard were campaign signs for Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, Beto O’Rourke, Julie Oliver and Miller’s challenger, Kim Olson.
After Miller caught wind of the sign, he shared images on Facebook, adding his own spin on Stanford’s intentions:
> Miller, who is notorious for sharing controversial posts to his nearly 800,000 followers, shared a photo of Stanford's sign with the caption: "This is in Hamilton, Texas and is supposed to be Judge Kavanaugh's young daughter. Notice my opponent's sign in the background. The Democrat sleaze knows NO bounds!"
https://www.facebook.com/MillerForTexas/posts/2365796196975871Stanford denied that the generic depiction of a girl was Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s daughter, saying it was based on a political cartoon.
> "This is not something a reputable, respected politician would do," Stanford said of Miller's post. "There's nothing in my sign that remotely suggests it's Kavanaugh's daughter."
Stanford said she started receiving phone calls and was harassed on Facebook, until someone took the step of involving police, who showed up to her home indicating they had received complaints about the sign.
> “Police told me to remove the sign or they would take it and would arrest me,” Stanford said. “So I let them take the sign.”
> The city manager of Hamilton, which is about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth, denied that police mentioned arrest or forcibly took the sign.
> “It’s political season, and a citizen here placed a yard sign that featured a political animal taking an inappropriate position with a young child,” Pete Kampfer said. “A police member visited the owner’s home, and the owner asked the officer to take the sign.”
Legal experts said if police in fact took Stanford’s sign, it is likely a violation of her right to free speech.
> After reviewing the photo of the sign, Southern Methodist University law professor and First Amendment expert Dale Carpenter said it is fully protected under the First Amendment.
> “There is no basis I can see for removing the sign,” he said. “It’s not obscene, and no court would find it to be. You can say it’s offensive or distasteful, but that’s protected under the Constitution.”