A Wisconsin man has been charged with a felony hate crime after allegedly throwing acid into a Hispanic man’s face and telling him to go back to his country.
Clifton Blackwell, 61, was charged Wednesday with committing first-degree reckless injury as a hate crime with a dangerous weapon following Friday night’s attack that left Mahud Villalaz, who is a U.S. citizen, with second-degree burns, authorities said.
The reckless injury charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $100,000. The dangerous weapon and hate crime charges are considered sentence enhancers, which could add up to five years each, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost.
Villalaz said he had just parked outside of a Milwaukee restaurant when he was approached by Blackwell, who began arguing with him over his vehicle’s close proximity to a bus stop. Villalez said he moved his vehicle to another street but Blackwell continued to harass him when he returned to the restaurant.
“Why did you invade my country?,” authorities say Blackwell said to Villalaz, who Blackwell allegedly referred to as an “illegal.”
“Go back. Go back, motherfucker,” Blackwell allegedly told him.
Villalaz said he called Blackwell racist and told him that “everyone comes from somewhere first” before Blackwell splashed an unknown liquid from a container onto his face. The liquid caused immediate burning to Villalaz’s face, cheek, neck and left eye and he sought help from inside the restaurant.
Evidence collected from Blackwell’s home included hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, lye and parkerizing cleaner, which is used to prevent steel corrosion, according to the criminal complaint.
This is not Blackwell’s first brush with the law.
He was sentenced to 379 days in jail for holding four hunters at gunpoint after they wandered onto his Wisconsin property while tracking a deer in 2006, according to court documents obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Blackwell’s mother told the Journal Sentinel that her son suffers from PTSD from serving in the U.S. Marines. She said she believed that he was getting treatment for it from the Department of Veterans Affairs in Milwaukee.
A man who identified himself as Blackwell’s roommate told Fox 6 News that the man had changed in recent years.
“You can tell he’s a prejudiced person,” Mohammad Ishtiwi told the local news station.
Ishtiwi said when he returned home on Saturday night, he found Blackwell in the dark.
“Saturday night when I walked in and everything was turned off in the house, I turned the light on and he said, ‘I’m in trouble. They are coming for me,’” said Ishtiwi. “By the time he said that, police were knocking on the door.”
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