Wisconsin prison guard who allegedly threw gay woman into a fire will get hate crime charges dropped: report
A prison guard (Shutterstock)

On Friday, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported that a prison guard in Brown County, Wisconsin will be given a plea deal that removes hate crime charges after he allegedly threw an LGBTQ woman into a fire.

"According to police reports and witness accounts, on July 3, 2021, Green Bay Correctional Institute officer Shane Nolan called Dessiray Koss a derogatory term for LGBTQ people, threw her into an active fire pit and tried to strangle her when she fought back," reported Natalie Eilbert. "Koss is openly gay and was at her private residence at the time of the incident. The attack was sudden and unprovoked, according to Koss and her sister, who said she witnessed the assault." Koss reportedly required plastic surgery to repair severe burns and is still recovering from the attack.

Nolan, for his part, claims that he blacked out while drinking during the time of the attack, that he woke up to being assaulted, and that he never used any slurs.

"By July 15, Brown County prosecutors had charged Nolan with one felony charge and one misdemeanor — substantial battery and disorderly conduct, respectively — both with hate crime modifiers that would add nearly seven more years of prison time and thousands of dollars in fines if he was convicted," said the report.

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However, the plea deal reportedly on the table would reduce Nolan's offense to three misdemeanors and remove the hate crime enhancements — and local anti-violence program director Kathy Flores believes the plea is because the prosecutor fears a jury won't convict a law enforcement official.

This comes shortly after a tragic incident in Oslo, Norway in which a gunman opened fire at a gay bar during a national Pride event, killing two people and injuring ten.

Hate crimes against LGBTQ persons have become commonplace, and experts have long believed these crimes are underreported, in part because of a lack of trust in law enforcement.