Man suspected of being on terror watch list tells his side of the story

Published: Dec. 20, 2015 at 4:19 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2015 at 2:56 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEWTOWN, OH (FOX19) - It started as a routine traffic stop until Peter Santilli, a Marine, showed up as a match on the national terror watch list.

In an exclusive interview with FOX19 NOW he shared his thoughts about what happened

Santilli said he's not bitter about the arrest and that he actually has a lot of praise for Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan who made the arrest, but said there were a few moments when the situation could have ended very badly.

"He was extremely professional, constitutional, he was very, very courteous when he pulled me over," stated Santilli.

But moments later Santelli said the situation became tense when police thought his name was on the national terror watch list.

"He pulled out his weapon immediately and I was immediately staring down the barrel of a 45-caliber weapon," Santilli recalled. "He was very, very concerned. He was visibly concerned as well. He said hands up. I was extremely compliant." 

Santelli hosts a podcast from his Mt. Washington studio called Off the Hook in the Morning where he shares his sometimes controversial political views -- views Santelli believes earned him a spot on that watch list.

"Because I have political opponents that some of whom actually have access to the terror watch list," he said. "I believe that what he saw was my name and my vehicle associated with someone on the terror watch list. Somebody who had access to that terror watch list wanted to use it as political intimidation."

However, after some further checking, Newtown police Chief Tom Synan said it turns out Santelli is not the person on the watch list.

"When you run something if it's similar that system will bring that up whatever the most priority thing on that list is on there and that's what happened is the system is going to run that information...anything close to it is going to pop it up," stated Synan.

Santelli was arrested and jailed for carrying a pistol without a permit and he says the ordeal raises a question for the public and law enforcement.

Santelli says he believes that information could have had fatal consequences.

There was an error that took place here and the life of a United State Marine could have been taken at that particular moment.

Pete Santelli says he's received death threats because of his outspoken political views and carries a weapon for protection.  He has a court date
on that weapons charge January 4th.

Copyright 2015 WXIX. All rights reserved.