CLEVELAND — A Mansfield man has pleaded guilty to threatening the family of an Edgewood High School football player who kneeled last year with several teammates during the National Anthem at a football game.

Bryan Shane Wolfe, 44, was charged Sept.18, 2020 with three counts of interstate threatening communications and one count of possession of a firearm after a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ashtabula Police Department. 

In a plea negotiation with prosecutors, Wolfe admitted to all four counts during a plea hearing on Aug. 26 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. He will be sentenced following a pre-sentence investigation.

During a preliminary hearing last year, FBI Special Agent Melissa L. Fortunato testified that she believed there was enough evidence for probable cause to show that Wolfe had sent the threatening communication.

The affidavit indicates a Facebook account with the name “Shaun Wolfie” sent a direct message to Jessica Malinkey’s Facebook account, threatening her 16-year-old son. Malinkey said she received hateful messages along with a picture of her teenage son and her 6-year-old daughter.

The threat came about after the teen, along with several teammates, kneeled during the National Anthem before a Warriors football game. 

According to the affidavit, Malinkey didn’t know the person who sent the threat. FBI agents were able to gather a variety of information that showed Wolfe was behind the Facebook account.

The investigation started after the post was reported to the Ashtabula Police Department and the FBI. 

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick started the kneeling protest movement five years ago. It gained momentum after the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police.

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