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Extremism in Black Diamond Leads to Censorship Debate

On May 6th, 2021, the Black Diamond City Council will convene for their regular council meeting. One of the items on the agenda is a new “social media policy” which looks harmless at first glance. Many of the rules are centered on the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and ensuring that official and personal capacities are clearly divided online, but one policy appears to be an attempt at censoring one councilmember for opposition to extremists.

Councilmember Chris Wisnoski serves Black Diamond, as well as Patrick Nelson formerly, but they are prominent leaders in the hate group III% (three percent) as well. While Wisnoski claims they are not a white supremacist group as infamously known, the local groups have promoted “The Big Lie” about disproven election fraud, protested health guidelines during the pandemic, and even showed up with firearms to Pride events oriented to youth as a counter-demonstration (similarly, they showed up to peaceful Black Lives Matter protests with firearms too). The III% was also one of the most prominent groups to participate in the insurrection at Washington D.C. on January 6th. In other words, the III% is just as much known for menacing locally as it is nationally, and it is not an exception as claimed.

Councilmember Kristiana de Leon of Black Diamond is not quiet about her opposition. She has complained about their activities in the news and on social media. But, Black Diamond’s extremists are tired of her. Points made at the work study meeting on April 8th over this policy suggest that this is the reason; de Leon’s social media accounts were discussed at length. Instead of handling the extremism in their local community, it appears they are attempting to censor her with one nonsensical rule in their new social media policies:

“Councilmembers must refrain from referring to a fellow Councilmember in their social media posts unless the other Councilmember has first given express consent.”

Black Diamond AB21-026, “City Council Social Media Policy”

If passed, Councilmember de Leon would be required to get permission when using the names of the infamous III% leaders serving (and formerly serving) on Black Diamond’s council (Chris Wisnoski and Patrick Nelson), or any future councilmembers with ties to extremist organizations.

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