Aaron Nielsen, 51, is in jail accused of a hate crime in Wausau. 

According to a post on the Wausau Police Department’s Facebook page, it stems from a fight at a gas station June 1, on Wausau’s west side.

“Racism exists here in our community,” said Wausau Chief of Police Ben Bilven. “Sitting idly by isn’t gonna be ok anymore in our community. We have to do better than just accepting racism exists. We’re gonna have to do more.”

Officers determined Nielsen used a racial slur toward a person of color. Initially, officers issued a summons for battery, because of COVID-19 protocols, most misdemeanor offenses result in a summons to court rather than an arrest.

However, after reviewing the case, the police department consulted with the Marathon County attorney and determined the incident qualified as a hate crime, which is a felony.

Nielsen is in jail, awaiting a court appearance.