A Delaware County man was charged Friday with ethnic intimidation after District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said he shouted racial slurs and threats at participants in a peaceful rally in Aston Township last Sunday.
Brian Setnick, 60, of Aston, was captured on video passing by the rally at the intersection of Pennell and Concord Roads, shouting racial slurs and saying “you better watch out,” police said.
Aston police also spoke with seven witnesses who reported feeling personally threatened by Setnick’s words and actions, according to a news release.
“We hope that this prosecution makes clear that this community has no room for such hateful and threatening behavior,” Aston Police Chief Dan Ruggieri said in a statement. “I hope that the victims of this crime know that we take these allegations very seriously, and that we will work every day to ensure their safety.”
Police said five participants in the rally gave statements Tuesday to police about the incident and provided them with a video of Setnick driving by the protest at about 7 p.m. on Sunday in a red Jeep Wrangler. Police said they also reviewed dashboard camera footage of the incident from police vehicles that were monitoring the demonstration. Two more witnesses provided statements and video footage on Wednesday, police said.
“At a time when our communities cry out for tolerance and healing, this defendant chose to use vile and hateful language to threaten peaceful protesters,” Stollsteimer said in a statement. “Because of the great work of the Aston Police Department and the continued bravery of those that raised their voice for equality and refused to be silenced, he will be brought to justice.”
Setnick is charged with one felony count of ethnic intimidation, as well as misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, and harassment.
He was arraigned Friday, according to court records, and released on $75,000 unsecured bail. Attempts to reach Setnick for comment Saturday were unsuccessful.