Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

White Supremacist Hijacks Washington Municipal Gathering

An Ellensburg police officer escorted a man out of the city council chambers when his public comments diverged into hate speech during Monday’s council meeting.

During the portion of the meeting where citizens were allowed to comment on non-agenda items, a man approached the podium and stated his topic was the “Ellensburg Police Department.”

He began to speak on the Friday fatal shooting at Jack in the Box, but his comments veered into anti-Black, anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration territory.

He spoke uninterrupted for nearly a minute; audience members began to murmur and Mayor Rich Elliott said, “Let him talk.”

The man agreed, saying it was his First Amendment right. He continued, but when his comments became antisemitic on a national level, Elliott warned him to “bring it back” to the Ellensburg Police Department.

“You have to tie it back to the subject at hand or I’m going to stop you from talking,” Elliott said.

The man did not comply; Elliott warned him once more to stop talking, then asked councilmembers if Ellensburg police were present.

“Bring him out,” he told Capt. Jim Weed, who was sitting near the back of the room.

Weed took the man by his arm and escorted him out of the council chambers.

“Free speech comes with a cost,” Elliott said in a statement Wednesday.

“We apologize to any member of our community who felt unsettled or threatened by the language used during public comment. Keeping our community safe takes all of us working together.”

This is the third incident of Neo-Nazis hijacking public comment sessions since November, but the first time it happened in person.

During the Nov. 6 council meeting, six white supremacists anonymously Zoombombed remote public comment to spew racist sentiments.

At the following meeting, the council discussed ways to mitigate future incidents, and elected to keep remote public comment available, but updated the rules to require speakers to identify the topic they wish to speak on.

At the Dec. 4 meeting, it happened again. That time, the Neo-Nazis gave false Ellensburg-themed topics before launching into their prepared hate speech.

After the second attack, the council voted 4-3 to disband public comment on non-agenda items via Zoom at its Dec. 18 meeting.

Councilmember David Miller asked for a revote in January, expressing his “increasingly higher levels of concern” about the way he voted to nix public comment via Zoom.

Elliott said it would come back before council after the then-vacant Position 3 was filled.

The position has since been filled, but the reconsideration has not yet appeared on the council’s agenda.

“We value hearing from the public at our meetings and we draw a clear line when it comes to generalized hate speech and discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability or sexual orientation,” Elliott said.

“Such behavior is not tolerated in Ellensburg.”