Man charged after racist attack caught on video in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Farrukh Abbas never thought a walk through his own apartment complex would be dangerous until he said one of his own neighbors targeted him in a racist attack.

"Abusing, slurring. Then he started using the racist remarks," he said.

Abbas says he was walking in the neighborhood on September 7 when the neighbor's dog ran up to him barking and growling.

He said the dog tried to attack him twice, leading him to ask his neighbor to put the dog on a leash. That's when the man can be seen on video going on an expletive-filled rant, telling Abbas to go back to his country.

"This is our home. And how would it feel if someone asked you to get out of your home," said Abbas.

According to Abbas, the man then hit him with his fists.

Upper Merion Township Police have identified the suspect as William Butler.

Abbas called police and the Center for American Islamic Relations, which processed the incident through its Washington D.C. office.

"We need to bring it to the public and to say this is what's happening in our country," said Jacob Bender, executive director of CAIR-Philadelphia.

Butler has been charged with ethnic intimidation, harassment and disorderly conduct.

Abbas hopes that by sharing his story he can prevent others from being targeted in racist attacks.

"When you experience it yourself, you feel the gravity of the situation," he said. "How bad it feels."

Officials issued a statement on Thursday saying in part, "Upper Merion Township does not tolerate harassment or intimidation in any form, and certainly not that which is racially or ethnically motivated. We strongly condemn any actions like this in our community, as they do not represent Upper Merion Township, and will do everything in our power to prevent this from continuing. We are deeply sorry that the victim in this incident had to endure this physical and verbal harassment while walking in the community."
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