A 42-year-old Boise man who physically and verbally harassed a group of Iraqi students at a scenic overlook by Lucky Peak earlier this month is charged with a felony count of malicious harassment.
Brian Gail Olson will make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
The incident occurred on Oct. 4. A group of students from Iraq (ages 16,17,18, 19, and 20) were parked by the scenic overlook on Idaho 21, just south of the More’s Creek Bridge, around 6 p.m., checking out the view, listening to music, and taking some pictures.
A pickup truck, driven by Olson with three other men inside, pulled up to the teens. Olson got out of his truck and began yelling cultural epithets at the teens. At one point, Olson knocked a can of soda out of the 16-year-old boys’ hand, which then spilled on his clothes. Around that same time, Olson ripped a necklace off the boy’s neck.
Olson also grabbed the 20-year-old by the collar and yelled in his face, asking the student if he could swim, referring to the river far below. He yelled at all five teens during the incident.
Olson then went into the student’s car and started rummaging around. He came out with a soccer ball that he then threw into the road. One of the students said Olson spit at him. They also said Olson smelled strongly of alcohol and saw several empty beer cans fall out of the truck when he got out.
The students took some pictures with their cell phones and got the license number of the truck as Olson and the other men drove away.
The teens reported what happened a few days later to a school resource officer at their Boise-area high school, who contacted the ACSO when they figured where the incident occurred.
Detectives then took over the case, interviewing all the students again and collecting evidence. Detectives eventually tracked down Olson Tuesday and interviewed him.
That’s when they arrested Olson and booked him into the Ada County Jail.
Detectives are still working to identify the other men in the truck with Olson. Anyone with information should call Det. Matt Buie at 577-3738.
In addition to the felony malicious harassment charge, Olson is cited for misdemeanor charges of littering, unlawful entry and driving without a valid license.
The crime of malicious harassment is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Idaho code defines felony malicious harassment (18-7902) as:
“It shall be unlawful for any person, maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin, to:
(a) Cause physical injury to another person; or
(b) Damage, destroy, or deface any real or personal property of another person; or
(c) Threaten, by word or act, to do the acts prohibited if there is reasonable cause to believe that any of the acts described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section will occur.
For purposes of this section, “deface” shall include, but not be limited to, cross-burnings or the placing of any word or symbol commonly associated with racial, religious or ethnic terrorism on the property of another person without his or her permission.”