Wishing something bad would happen to someone isn't the same thing as threatening violence against them.
That's according to a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling Monday. regarding the case of Gregory Allen Olson.
Olson, 66 and from Chisago City, was convicted of making terroristic threats against a Minnesota State Trooper following his Oct. 27, 2014, arrest. He'd refused a field sobriety test and preliminary breath test.
According to the ruling, Olson multiple times wished the trooper harm, saying:
"It is no wonder people are killing you guys. . . . I truly hope that you are one of the cops that gets their head blown off. . . . I truly hope that because I have done nothing wrong. I stopped to make a f---ing phone call because I got beat up. You guys are assholes."
Olson also told the trooper: "I hope someone puts a slug in your head, you loser," and, "It is no wonder people are shooting you guys all the time. You see it all the time. There is going to be a lot more."
So what happened afterward?
During Olson's October 2015 trial, the trooper testified he was concerned for his safety after hearing Olson's statements, saying he didn't know what Olson was capable of. Olson was convicted of making terroristic threats, along with drunken driving and refusing sobriety tests.
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed Olson's terroristic threats conviction Monday, ruling that Olson's statements – although they were "verbally abusive" and "offensive" – didn't amount to a threat of violence against the trooper, based on state law.
Olson's convictions of drunken driving and refusing sobriety tests still stand.