Offensive car decor could get you ticketed in Edgefield

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News 12 @ 11 o'clock -- February 16, 2009

EDGEFIELD, SC ---We won't show them to you, but something, or a pair of somethings is literally stopping traffic in one South Carolina town.

"We've probably had 10 or 15 complaints in the last 2 to 3 weeks and that drew enough of our attention to start looking into it and trying to correct the issue," said Edgefield Police Chief Ronald Carter.

Town officials are calling them "indecent vehicle ornaments." They're ornaments that resemble male genitalia. They say they weren't a problem in the community until parents walking their children to the library noticed the cars on the street with the decoration and were offended.

"They're very realistic looking. I think that's the biggest problem," said Chief Carter.

"The town's having to deal with both sides of the issue. On one hand they want to protect the freedom of expression and on the other hand, they want to protect those who feel they shouldn't have to see this in their community.

"It's kind of hard, we see both sides of the issue. You got personal freedoms, personal property rights, freedom of speech. And on the other hand, what can't you do in this case to offend people?" said Mayor Ken Durham.

"I think there's room for the freedom of expression but when it comes to indecency, the community has to step in and say this is indecent and we're not going to tolerate it.It all falls back to each community deciding what's decent and what's indecent." said Chief Carter.

And that's just what four other states have done. New York, Maryland, Virginia and Florida have all tried to ban the ornaments; and now this town wants to do the same.

For now the town is only issuing warnings. But if they ask the driver to take them down and they don't, they can be fined as much as $200.

Florida is the only state to actually make it illegal to use the items on cars and trucks.

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