Man charged with hate crime for allegedly cutting internet cable of people he thought were undocumented immigrants

A Wisconsin man has been charged with a hate crime after prosecutors alleged he cut his neighbors’ internet cable cords because he believed they were undocumented immigrants, NBC reported Friday. 

A worker came to the apartment above 48-year-old Shannon Pearson’s on Sept. 22 to install internet service, but Pearson met with the worker to tell him that the neighbors were in the United States illegally. 

NBC reported that Pearson originally told officers that the worker “freaked out” and cut the cable before he left. He said he then confronted his neighbors, who do not speak English, upstairs, but one pushed him down the stairs. 

The neighbors denied pushing Pearson down during an interview with police. 

The worker had returned to the apartment while police were interviewing Pearson and said that Pearson was saying “racist things” and cut the cable. 

Pearson admitted to cutting the cable with scissors and said he did not believe his neighbors deserved cable. He said he believed they were in the country illegally because they do not speak English. 

NBC reported that police said the neighbors are not in the country illegally. 

A criminal complaint states that Pearson was frustrated that “Mexicans” regularly moved into the apartment above him. 

Pearson is facing a felony charge of criminal damage to property and obstructing an officer. The criminal damage charge has been classified as a hate crime. 

He was released from jail on $1,000 bail, but he must not contact his upstairs neighbors, NBC reported. 

Pearson could face up to a $10,000 fine and two years in prison if convicted.