Aberdeen City Councilor’s Facebook post seen as ‘defamation and slander’

A couple weeks ahead of the Aug. 1 primary, it appears the races are getting heated.

On June 19, current Aberdeen City Councilor Kacey Ann Morrison made strong claims on her personal Facebook profile about a woman who is running for Aberdeen City Council after several campaign signs were destroyed.

The claims targeted Sydney Renae Newbill, who’s running for Aberdeen’s Ward 6 Position 12, and current Aberdeen City Councilor Dee Anne Shaw, who represents Ward 6 Position 12.

“Another day, more vandalism,” stated Morrison’s Facebook post on June 19. “Unless your Sydney Newbill who is running to fill the seat being vacated by Dee Anne Shaw, who is running for Mayor — notably both have not had their signs destroyed this cycle. Debi Pieraccini and Doug Orr (both running for Mayor) had their signs destroyed this morning — along with Riley Carter, Bessie Jones, and Norm Klein. It appears to be culprits from the same group as all the other instances of vandalism thus far — it is very TARGETED. Cliche criminal anarchist/antifa chic … all in black.”

Carter, Jones and Klein are all Aberdeen City Council candidates.

Morrison’s claims continued to add other organizations — Chehalis River Mutual Aid Network and people, such as fellow Aberdeen City Councilors Joshua Francy and Liz Ellis, amongst others.

Morrison’s post calls on her followers to “go look for yourself,” when it comes to her claims of what the people and organizations have done.

But, according to the Aberdeen Police Department, there have been zero reports of vandalism to campaign signs since early June.

“I went through our calls from June 1st to present and I did not see any reports of vandalism to campaign signs,” said Steve Timmons, APD Commander. “I had heard about one being spray painted a while back but that was never reported. So I don’t know if people are just not reporting it or if it’s not occurring.”

Morrison’s profanity-laden post continued with a challenge to Newbill and others:

“To the candidates running for office that conveniently seem to have the affection of these degenerates (looking at you Sydney Newbill, Josh Francy, Dee Anne Shaw, Glenn Meissner and Scott Prato) this is a terrible look for you,” Morrison’s post states. “Will you disavow?”

Meissner, Ward 4 Position 7 and Prato, Ward 3 Position 6, are also running for Aberdeen City Council.

Newbill responded to Morrison’s accusations the following morning — June 20.

“While I would have much preferred a direct conversation with those affected, I am only left with the option to share this post & express the following,” Newbill said. “In no way do I support the destruction of ANY campaign sign. This includes my opponents. I have no clue who is out committing these crimes. They should be held accountable & should I find out any information, I’ll be sure to share it accordingly.”

According to APD, vandalism is a misdemeanor, punishable up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Timmons pointed out if the damage is more than $750, the crime becomes a felony.

Newbill pointed out the “very weighted accusations” coming her way without any effort to resolve personally before taking to social media.

“This is defamation & slander, which is also illegal,” Newbill said.

Newbill also responded recently to Morrison’s accusations with a statement.

“I expected that campaigning could result in my name being said by people I hadn’t met and in rooms I had never stepped foot in,” Newbill said. “But, I certainly didn’t expect a public accusation by a sitting council member, especially without any effort to legitimize the claims. I was disheartened, but I remained positive, and I will continue to do so. I fully believe that anyone who took three minutes to look at my resume, calendar or just have a conversation with me, would easily see my time is spent on building up, not tearing down.”

Morrison, whose Facebook post went missing soon after a request for comment, was reached for comment twice, but did not respond as of Tuesday afternoon.

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.