Despite court rulings, some DC Councilmembers have blocked users on social media

Public records obtained by FOX 5 show four of the 13 DC Councilmembers have blocked people on social media, despite several court rulings which say it's unconstitutional for public officials to block specific accounts.

Records show councilmembers Robert White Jr., Brandon Todd, Anita Bonds and Brianne Nadeau had accounts blocked on Facebook or Twitter.

All four councilmembers told FOX 5 the blocks were either done before they were councilmembers, by mistake or aimed at spammers. Since FOX 5 began asking questions the councilmembers say they have unblocked any blocked accounts.

"As a policy I don't block anybody and that will continue to be my policy as a councilmember," said White.

The issue has come up before locally with an important ruling coming out of Loudoun County.

Brian Davison, a Loudoun County resident, sued Phyllis Randall, chairwoman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, winning both in district court and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The judges ruled in January, "In sum, the interactive component of the Chair's Facebook Page constituted a public forum, and Randall engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination when she banned Davison's...Page from that forum."

Katie Fallow is an attorney for the Knight First Amendment Institute who represented Davison. She was also involved in another lawsuit which held that President Trump's blocks of several people on Twitter were unconstitutional.

"Just as they shouldn't be allowed to exclude people from your traditional townhall meeting for expressing views that the public official disagrees with they shouldn't be allowed to they shouldn't be able to block people from these social media accounts which have become basically a virtual townhall," said Fallow.

Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White's office refused to comply with FOX 5's records request, arguing his social media accounts are private, despite the fact that he often posts about council business.

FOX 5 also asked for the same records from Mayor Muriel Bowser's office nearly two months ago, but her office has not responded.

The Trump Administration is appealing the federal court's ruling surrounding his Twitter account, but Fallow says the plaintiffs were unblocked by the president's account.