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Neo-Nazi white supremacist delivers antisemitic diatribe at Walnut Creek City Council meeting

Walnut Creek City Councilmember talks about ugly verbal confrontation with neo-Nazi at public meetin
Walnut Creek Councilmember talks about verbal confrontation with neo-Nazi at public meeting 03:34

A man wearing a "white power" T-shirt and swastikas went on a hate-filled, antisemitic diatribe during a public comment period at a Walnut Creek City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

The man, who identified himself as "Scottie," approached the podium holding up a cellphone and started his comments saying he was "filming this for legal reasons." He then proceeded to denounce the City Council members for shutting down online and phone-in public comments during public meetings, using antisemitic slurs and vulgar language.

"I came here to discuss the attack on free speech and our First Amendment rights being stripped away by Jewish supremacists," he began. "You shut down Zoom comments at the behest of the [Anti-Defamation League] because some Jews' feelings got hurt."

In October, Walnut Creek announced it would stop taking remarks remotely via phone and Zoom after months of harassment by antisemitic callers who frequently targeted City Councilmember Kevin Wilk, who is Jewish. Similar incidents have occurred in other city council meetings in the Bay Area and in Sacramento. Sonoma County, Redwood City and Fremont have also stopped allowing people to speak in public comment portions of meetings via Zoom and phone calls.

A man who identified himself as "Scottie" gives a Nazi salute after delivering an antisemitic diatribe during a Walnut Creek City Council meeting, Feb. 20, 2024. City of Walnut Creek

The man, who also wore dark glasses and a cap with a Black Sun or German sunwheel (sonnenrad) symbol used by neo-Nazis and other far-right groups, admitted espousing hate rhetoric while telling the city council, "There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment."

In reality, California's Brown Act only requires municipalities to offer the public a chance to address public meetings in person. Remote commenting was offered by municipalities during the pandemic and kept as an option after meetings were reopened to the public.

During his comments, the man pointed at Councilmember Wilk and threatened to sue the council, saying, "I'm here today because of people like you think we're scared to show up and show our face and call you out in person, and I dare you to shut me down."

The commenter finished his rant by delivering anti-Jewish slurs, suggesting the Holocaust was not real, promoting white supremacist websites and ending with a Nazi salute.

"F--- all you Jews, f--- the ADL, Heil Hitler, white f---ing power," he said at the end of his two minutes.

Neo-Nazi addresses Walnut Creek City Council during public comments at 32:30 (Warning: profanity, hate speech, antisemitic slurs)

Walnut Creek City Council by City of Walnut Creek on YouTube

Following the man's tirade, a stunned City Council was silent for a few seconds before Councilmember Wilk spoke up.

"Mayor [Loella Haskew], I would just like to say something now that public comment has ended, that we live in a free country and there is free speech, and that means we have to listen to awful and heinous comments like we just listened to," said Wilk. "And I would like to apologize on behalf of the City Council and anybody that had to hear that horrible, horrible speech."

Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Darling responded to Wilk by saying, "And we want to apologize to you, Kevin, because we know this is clearly so directed at you and so vile and not who we are as a city."

Wilk spoke to KPIX about the incident Wednesday. He noted that this is not the first time this person made these kinds of remarks.

During a Walnut Creek City Council meeting in June 2023, a caller who also identified himself as "Scottie" from Walnut Creek delivered similar antisemitic remarks during a public comment period before he was cut off at the urging of Wilk. He was one of four different callers to spout anti-Jewish hate speech at the meeting in what appeared to be a coordinated effort.

A video of that call was posted on the X account @Scottie8841 which currently shows as being suspended.  

"As soon as he started walking down the aisle, he had his shirt open exposing a white t-shirt that had white power with a swastika on it. So I  knew immediately, 'OK, here we go,'" he explained.

As the only Jewish member on the city council, Wilk said he turned his chair around before the man even started speaking.

"We haven't had somebody in person before, but I certainly knew what was about to happen," said Wilk. "I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of looking in my eyes while he spoke heinous speech."

When asked what was going through his mind at that point, Wilk said he knew he needed to take a stand.

"I knew I was going to respond as not just someone who is Jewish, but a member of humanity and human kind," Wilk explained. "That we need to speak out and ostracize these people. It is outrageous, and what they want to do is normalize it and make people numb to this speech and just have it become just another Tuesday council meeting."

Teresa Drenick, the deputy regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Councilmember Wilk's response last night was critical.

"It was more than disturbing. It was…it was just awful," said Drenick. "It was rhetoric that can and might incite violence in the real world. It must be called out. It must be condemned." 

Wilk said that's exactly what he plans to do if it happens again.

"I'm not going to cower from this. I'm going to stand up for people in the community. For every one of my voice, there's a thousand people out there that wish…that are feeling that they don't have a voice."

KPIX spoke with Walnut Creek's police chief who said there were officers at the meeting Tuesday night, and there will be at all future meetings. He said the FBI is aware of this person and they will be doing everything they can to ensure the safety of future meetings.

Katie Nielsen contributed to this story.

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