Greg Aprahamian | Death Threats or Snarky Comments?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recently concluded a two-month investigation revolving around online comments made on several viral YouTube videos about Saugus Union School District board members David Barlavi and Julie Olsen.

Newly elected school board member, attorney David Barlavi, had recently gained a degree of local attention by displaying (a clenched) fist during the pledge of allegiance in front of parents, grade school students and faculty. When members of the public showed up at a school board meeting to criticize Barlavi’s anti-American display, fellow school board member Julie Olsen then attempted to limit and restrict public comments at the school board meeting by publicly screening those who wished to speak about David Barlavi’s anti-American display. 

Several YouTube videos documenting the contentious meeting were made, and they went viral. As of this writing approximately 23,053 viewers watched the videos featuring David Barlavi’s anti-American fist display, and 45,593 then watched the video featuring Olsen attempting to restrict the public from addressing Barlavi’s actions.

Thousands of comments were made on the YouTube videos, virtually all highly critical of the two school board members.

Barlavi claims some of the comments were death threats and he filed a police complaint with the local Sheriff’s Department.

On April, 8, I contacted the Sheriff’s Department and they informed me that the case was: “No longer an active investigation,” and after reviewing the sheriff’s investigation the “district attorney has decided not to file any criminal charges.” 

I asked other questions about the case, such as: “How many hours were spent on the investigation?” and whether the Sheriff’s Department was going to issue a report to the public.

Their only reply was that they couldn’t comment on the hours involved in the investigation and that the Sheriff’s Department was not going to issue a public report, and reiterated that the case was “no longer an active investigation.” They mentioned First Amendment issues involved in the case.

The great questions involved in this story are: 

Were the online comments made about Barlavi and Olsen credible threats or were they simply snarky comments meant to ridicule the foolish actions of these two school board members?

When Barlavi filed the complaint about the online comments, was he focusing on the needs of the parents, students and the district, or did he really file the police report in an effort to deflect public criticism and claim victim status?

Did Barlavi receive credible online threats or did he receive snarky remarks meant to ridicule foolish actions? You decide.

Greg Aprahamian


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