Investigator, prosecutor to help Michigan law enforcement for hate crimes against LGBT community

Image 1 of 3

Many crimes against members of the gay and transgender community go unreported.

But even when the cases make it to court, conviction rates are low. Now a non-profit is teaming up with prosecutors and police to close the gap.

Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community say they've had a hard time dealing with law enforcement when they are victims of crime.

"Unfortunately even though LGBT people are the targets of hate crime, there has been a disconnect between the LGBT community and law enforcement," said attorney Dana Nessel, president of Fair Michigan.

That project, Fair Michigan, a project with the support of prosecutor and the police chief, will dedicate a special investigator and a special prosecutor to Michigan law enforcement with resources to handle cases of hate crimes against the LGBT community.

"There's certain trans murders I heard about but hadn't seen that happened some time ago," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to make sure every citizen is brought to justice."

This project will handle serious capital offenses:

"Homicides, assault with intent to murder, armed robberies and criminal sexual conduct cases," Nessel said. "Otherwise known as rape cases."

There seems to be a disproportionate amount of crime against the LGBT population when compared against others.

"Because LGBT people are targeted in such greater numbers than the rest of the population," Nessel said. "That's a lot of crime. A lot of it goes unreported and a lot of it goes unsolved."

FOX 2 "Do you sense there is an under-reporting of the crimes or will juries convict if it gets that far?"

"There is none to report and we know that," Worthy said. "And there is certainly a slow closure rate. And sometimes some of the cases become cold that shouldn't be cold."

As far as getting convictions that remains to be seen. The good thing about this project is that there is little or no cost to the taxpayer, thanks to a generous grant from the Hertz Schram law firm.

"In the aftermath of Orlando," said Vic Norris, managing partner, Hertz Schram. "We really believe that the LGBTQ community is a vulnerable community but an important community we thought was worth sponsoring and helping launch. I think good things will come from it."

Fair Michigan's first case involves the murder of Amber Monroe, a well-known LGBT activist who was shot and killed on Six Mile and Woodward in August 2015.