RAPID CITY, SD. – In an arrest affidavit that reads like something out of a seedy novel, self-proclaimed far-right podcaster, Republican political activist and former local television anchor Shad Olson was arrested earlier this week by the Meade County Sheriff’s Office following allegations of domestic assault causing serious bodily injury for an incident that reportedly took place last Friday at a home north of Rapid City.
According to court documents, the incident leading to Olson’s arrest entailed strangulation of a female victim and an attempt to evade arrest before he was taken into custody and placed in
the Meade County Jail and held on a $5,000 bond.
In a release from the Meade County Sheriff’s Office, the agency said it is, “committed to doing everything we can to address issues of domestic violence. The protection of victims and holding those responsible, accountable for their actions will always be a priority for this office.”
The release went on to note that an arrest is an allegation only, and there remains a presumption of innocence until adjudication in a court of law.
According to the arrest affidavit obtained by media outlets, a police officer responded Sunday to the reported assault that had taken place two days prior to the arrest at the victim’s house. The victim made the report from Working Against Violence, Inc., a Rapid City non-profit which provides shelter to victims of domestic violence, and told a dispatcher Olson, her boyfriend of at least eight years, had slammed her down multiple times and chased her from her house.
What followed was a harrowing account of a night filled with violence and fear with the victim describing the assault as, “an animal killing an animal and that, Shad isn’t human.” As Olson chased the victim, she said her boyfriend began to tell her, “not to ruin his reputation,” and that she, “made him do it.” The victim told the officer she thought she was going to die, but she was able to escape the house.
According to the affidavit, the victim told the officer Olson had been abusing her over the course of eight years. The officer noted this in the arrest affidavit, saying, “Shad has a past history of assaults and domestic violence and has been flagged in our system to use caution.”
Olson was a reporter and news anchor for KOTA Territory News, an ABC-affiliated television station based in Rapid City where he began working in 2000. In 2010, he was suspended from KOTA amid journalism ethics concerns for giving a speech at a “tax day” rally held by Citizens for Liberty, a local tea-party chapter. He resigned on May 11, 2010.
By 2012, Olson was on the air again, this time with KNBN NewsCenter 1, another Rapid City TV station and NBC-affiliate. In February 2017, Olson was replaced by two staff reporters in the station’s primetime 5:30 slot. Olson left the company at an unknown time and without a statement from management.
Olson, 51, previously served as campaign counsel to Neal Tapio, a Republican candidate who lost to U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson and then-Secretary of State Shantel Krebs in a bid to win the
incumbent congressman’s district during the states 2018 House of Representatives election. Tapio himself was formerly a campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential
campaign in South Dakota.
Olson is charged with aggravated domestic assault, a class three felony. This carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison and a $30,000 fine.