Three accused of placing papers with hate symbols at Black church, other locations
Each suspect faces over 100 charges of aggravated harassment for dispensing pamphlets at various sites in Hornell, New York.
Three people have been arrested after distributing pamphlets with hate symbols at a Black church, a synagogue and other sites in Hornell, New York, a small city in the southern part of the state. Each has been hit with more than 100 charges of first-degree aggravated harassment.
A news release from the city says the investigation took place on Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, when police were made aware of the dispensed pamphlets and stickers, which featured swastikas and racial epithets. In conjunction with the New York State Police, a search warrant was executed, and Aubrey Dragonetti, 31, Dylan Henry, 30, and Ryan Mulhollen, 27, all of the same address, were arrested and charged.
“Our investigation revealed that the three of them were involved collectively to distribute this material,” Hornell Police Chief T.J. Murray told the local newspaper, The Evening Tribune. “The day before, we had some that showed up in various locations, two of them were on houses of worship in the Hornell community. So we were concerned about it, our patrol officers were on the alert the following night, and they actually intercepted these individuals in the process of doing it.”
“The individuals were going around and affixing this material,” he continued. “They must have been doing it throughout the night, affixing it to private entities of the community and placing this material within their driveways and houses.”
A pamphlet bearing the words “Aryan National Army” was left at Rehoboth Deliverance Ministries, a predominantly Black church, according to The Tribune.
“They brought it inside [the church] and showed everybody what was on the door,” said Marseena Harmonson, an assistant minister who wasn’t present at Rehoboth Deliverance Ministries on Sunday but was informed of what happened. “That, of course, sends fear.”
An identical flyer was left at the Temple Beth-El synagogue, police said.
Aggravated harassment is defined as “intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, because of a belief or perception regarding such person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
Most counts of aggravated harassment are misdemeanors and carry a penalty of between one and four years in prison.
Harmonson reflected on the suspects’ arrests, noting that she was “glad, but they can’t be the only ones.”
“Because of all that has happened over the last few years, months; especially what happened in Buffalo. People get scared,” she said. “And when you have children, young people, older people, they don’t know what to think. A lot of them never experienced anything like this.”
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