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Evidence disputed in Olsen threat case

BOARDMAN — The attorney for Justin Olsen, the Boardman man changed with threatening to assault federal law enforcement officers and making interstate threats, wants evidence obtained in an Aug. 7 search of Olsen’s residence thrown out.

Attorney J. Gerald Ingram, representing Justin Olsen, filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered in a law enforcement search of the Oakridge Drive home where Justin Olsen and his father, Eric Olsen, were residing, claiming the warrant was issued on an illegal “protective sweep” of the house.

The search revealed about 10,000 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, a Glock firearm in the living room and a locked gun safe in a closet of the master bedroom with about 26 firearms inside it — all of which Eric Olsen testified belonged to him during a detention hearing for Justin in mid-August.

The presence of firearms was evidence considered when federal court Judge George Limbert ruled that Justin Olsen was to remain in federal custody, saying Justin “poses a serious risk of danger to the safety of the community if he is released.”

Justin Olsen is accused of posting “in conclusion shoot all federal agents on sight,” from the iFunny.com account ArmyOfChrist, which law enforcement said they tracked to Justin in July. Other posts reportedly made by the account include statements encouraging others to “stock up” on weapons that could be banned and expressing violent intentions toward Planned Parenthood.

When someone is arrested, law enforcement is allowed to conduct a “protective sweep,” or quick search of a premises. According to the motion, the sweep is only allowed for officers to check areas “immediately adjoining the place of arrest” in which another dangerous person could be hiding, or a slightly larger area if officers have reason to suspect there is another individual posing danger at the scene.

Justin Olsen was arrested outside his residence and gave officers permission to search only his car and his vehicle. The motion states Eric Olsen, the only other resident, did not give permission for officers to search the rest of the house, but officers proceeded to complete a “safety sweep.”

Motion-activated camera footage captured from the gun safe shows at least four law enforcement officers in Eric Olsen’s bedroom, according to the motion, which claims that “not a single officer depicted in the video appears to be fearful for their wellbeing.”

“One of the officers coyly opens the door to the closet where the gun safe is located and says ‘let’s hit rewind’ as he shuts the door smiling. The officer’s statement appears to allude to the fact that the knows that he should not be searching Eric Olsen’s bedroom,” Ingram’s motion states.

The motion goes on to say that the sweep was “unlawful” because Justin Olsen was in custody and officers were aware Eric Olsen was not home, leaving no reason for officers to believe an individual posing danger was inside the home. Officers used the evidence from the sweep to obtain the warrant, which Ingram argues is grounds for exclusion of evidence gathered with that warrant.

A pretrail for Justin Olsen is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 10 in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland before Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.

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