Many central Grays Harbor residents — including The Daily World — woke up Tuesday morning with something left on cars and lawns even less welcome than animal droppings — flyers from a white supremacist organization.
The police’s response is simple.
“Just throw it away,” said Cmdr. Steve Timmons of the Aberdeen Police Department.
The flyers, distributed in sandwich bags of rice, possibly to keep them from blowing away, were seen in Aberdeen, Cosmopolis and Hoquiam, according to the police departments. The Aryan Freedom Network, a Texas-based neo-Nazi group, is identified on the flyers.
“I don’t think this is anybody local, personally,” said Chief Heath Layman of the Cosmopolis Police Department in an interview. “I think someone from out of town made a trip in and spread their hate.”
Messages on the flyers varied, from anti-immigrant to anti-LGBTQ to anti-minority, all with a link to a misspelling-laden white supremacist website. Layman said that investigating the website did not turn up any obvious reason the flyers had appeared in Grays Harbor.
“We as an office looked and saw zero correlation to the Harbor,” Layman said.
The phenomenon is a first, officers from all three departments agreed.
“This is new to us,” said Lt. Brian Dayton of the Hoquiam Police Department in a phone interview. “I’ve been here 24 years on the first and this is the first time I’ve come across them.”
The flyers appeared late Monday or early Tuesday, Timmons said, first spotted by officers coming on shift early Tuesday morning.
“Early morning, a couple patrol officers saw throughout the town, on sidewalks and porches, and they scooped ‘em up,” Timmons said. “They were proactive and threw them away.”
Layman speculated that houses displaying decorations for Pride Month may have received extra attention from the nocturnal flyer-posters.
“We had one reported. I heard a rumor there was more,” Layman said. “They know what steps to follow to not violate constitutional law and city ordinances.”
While the flyer-posting this week is not illegal, no matter how loathsome the content of the flyers, police say they’d like a chat with those involved in littering their odious message about the area.
“We’d like to have some more information,” Dayton said. “If it’s someone local, we can have a conversation with them and see what their agenda is.”
Anyone who might have camera footage that could identify those responsible for strewing the flyers about the region is asked to contact their local police departments.
Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.