Kim Tolbert Hides From DX

Screengrab of message
Screengrab of message on Deputy City Manager Kim Tolbert's Twitter account advising that The Dallas Express is blocked | Image by Kimberly Bizor Tolbert/Twitter

Deputy City Manager Kim Tolbert may be in violation of the law after blocking The Dallas Express on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The official’s move to block DX follows a multi-part investigation by the news outlet that revealed Tolbert’s leftwing political sympathies, which at times included her liking and sharing content that was harshly critical of the police and supportive of removing historic DFW statues and supportive of policies that helped unlawful migrants at a time when Dallas was reported to be (in effect) a sanctuary city.

DX first detected the social media block on April 6, the same day the third installment in the investigative series was published. The news outlet reached out to Tolbert for an explanation, but she did not respond before publication.

This incident followed an unusual exchange between DX and the City records manager. The news outlet previously sought records produced by Tolbert as part of her professional duties. The City records manager challenged DX‘s request, raising a series of general statutory exceptions. After DX disputed the legality of these exceptions, it received a letter from the City claiming the records requested did not exist. The next day, an unexpectedly small number of records from Tolbert’s office materialized without explanation, as previously reported by DX.

DX contacted the City records manager to inquire about what prompted officials to claim the records did not exist and how it was possible that less than a handful of records existed from the several years Tolbert held positions in local government. DX also sought an explanation for how the records materialized.

Tolbert’s blocking of DX appears to resemble similar actions that the Supreme Court has found unconstitutional. In a series of cases known as O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier and Lindke v. Freed, the highest court in the United States found that public officials cannot block citizens who are critical of their policies from engaging with social media accounts where the official posts governmental communications.

Although DX’s Twitter account has not commented on any of Tolbert’s posts, the account did follow her. When DX engaged her content, it was in an observational capacity. The results of these observations were shared in the aforementioned stories.

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