May 23, 2013

Authorities: Old Orchard councilor committed no crime

By Gillian Graham
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Police and the Attorney General's Office said Wednesday that they found no evidence that a town councilor committed a crime in an incident in which she allegedly used a racial slur against an African-American man who was collecting signatures for a recall campaign.

click image to enlarge

Old Orchard Beach town councilor Robin Dayton

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

Police Chief Dana Kelley said the investigation did not determine whether Town Councilor Robin Dayton used a slur, but even if she did it is protected speech under the First Amendment.

The local police and the Attorney General's Office found no evidence of a violation of the Maine Civil Rights Act.

Dayton, who is facing recall along with the other six town councilors, has denied that she used a racial slur in an encounter with a signature collector on April 10 outside of the town's post office.

Kelley said an unidentified man told police that Dayton called him an offensive name while he was collecting signatures on petitions seeking to recall Dayton. The man initially told police that he did not want to file a complaint or criminal charges, but said he wanted an apology, Kelley said.

Police found no probable cause to find that Dayton's alleged behavior was criminal, but forwarded information to the Attorney General's Office for review.

Kelley refused to release the original police report Wednesday and has refused to identify the complainant.

William Childs, an attorney who represents Dayton, spoke to the Town Council about the investigations late Tuesday and asked for an arbitration hearing to give Dayton a chance to answer "false allegations" before the recall election June 11.

"Miss Dayton has been denied due process in the matter," he said. "This should not just be swept under the rug now."

-- Assistant City Editor John Richardson contributed to this report.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

Twitter: grahamgillian 

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