COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Police in South Carolina have arrested a man who allegedly sent dozens of threats to Black civil rights attorney and former state lawmaker Bakari Sellers.
Grant Edward Olson Jr., of Asheville, North Carolina, is also accused of intimidating Sellers for exercising his civil rights as an attorney, television commentator and lobbyist, authorities said. Olson, 48, was arrested Friday and booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County.
Arrest warrants from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division show Olson sent dozens of messages to Sellers on Instagram that included racial slurs, indications that Olson was armed and mentioned the killings of African-Americans. Police said Olson admitted to sending the messages earlier this year.
Sellers thanked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for last week’s arrest.
“This isn’t just about me,” Sellers said in a statement. “I have a wife, a teenage bonus daughter and twin three-year-olds and I take any threat against them very seriously. They shouldn’t be subject to threats and intimidation like this. No one should. This isn’t political debate. This isn’t the ‘new normal.’ It’s a crime, pure and simple.”
Sellers, the son of civil rights activist Cleveland Sellers, was first elected to the South Carolina House as a Democrat in 2006 at the age of 22 and has also worked as an attorney and as a political analyst on CNN. He chose not to run for reelection in 2014, instead entering the lieutenant governor's race that year, where he lost to current governor Henry McMaster.