A 61-year-old white Milwaukee man accused of throwing acid on the face of a Spanish man will be accused of a hate crime, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Clifton A. Blackwell is suspected of attacking 42-year-old Mahud Villalaz on Friday night after accusing him of having been illegally in the US and the country was & # 39; invaded & # 39 ;. Villalaz was born in Peru but has the American nationality.
Prosecutors have filed a single charge against Blackwell – reckless first-degree injuries – but added the convicts of hate crimes and the use of a dangerous weapon.
The two amplifiers can add ten years in prison if he is convicted of reckless first-degree injuries, which can be punished for up to 25 years.
Blackwell, who first appeared in court on Wednesday to be informed of the charges he is facing, is a naval veteran who once fired four hunters on his Wisconsin estate during a hair-raising encounter.
According to the search warrant, investigators who searched Blackwell's house found, among other things, four bottles of sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and two bottles of Kleen-Out drain opener that was 100% alkaline.
Clifton A. Blackwell, the suspect in the battery acid attack on Friday, appears in a Milwaukee County Court on Wednesday. He will be accused of a hate crime, announcing the possible punishment he can get if he is convicted Wednesday
Clifton A. Blackwell (left) is suspected of attacking 42-year-old Mahud Villalaz (right) on Friday evening after accusing him of having been illegally in the US and the country was & # 39; invaded & # 39;
Video footage released from a nearby restaurant shows the confrontation in which the suspect points his finger at Villalaz and then throws the acid in his face, leaving him screaming in pain
Bond was set at $ 20,000, but it is on the condition that he wears an electronic surveillance bracelet. He is still being held at the Milwaukee County prison and his public defender did not immediately call back.
Additional conditions for his tire are that he has no contact with acids or large batteries, or possesses dangerous weapons or firearms. His next lawsuit is November 15.
His brother, Arthur Blackwell, 63, from Evergreen, Colorado, said Monday that Blackwell & # 39; was not a confrontational person & # 39 ;. He says that his brother has served in the US Marines for almost four years.
Jacqueline P. Blackwell, from California, told the Journal Sentinel that her son was a veteran who had moved to Milwaukee seeking help from the VA. She said she had not been in contact with him lately and had never heard of his arrest.
& # 39; I liked that he dealt well with the VA, & # 39; she told the newspaper.
The confrontation with the hunters took place at the Blackwell site in 2006 in Rusk County, a mostly rural area in northwestern Wisconsin.
State reports show that Blackwell has been convicted of false imprisonment and has aimed a gun at a person. Details are not available online, but the Journal Sentinel reported that the case confronted Blackwell with men who had come to his farm to follow a deer.
He marched the men to his house with a gun and demanded money from them, according to court documents and the hunters' bills.
At one point Blackwell was found unable to stand trial, but was eventually convicted of two charges. It was released in 2011.
After being sprayed with the acid, Villalaz screamed in pain and ran into the restaurant to wash the substance off his face
Villalaz's sister told The Associated Press on Monday that her brother believes the man was prepared and wanted to attack someone
He was released on Saturday with his left cheek and ear and neck discolored by the acid burns. His left eye was also damaged, visibly red, and his vision somewhat blurred
Villalaz's sister told The Associated Press on Monday that her brother believes his attacker was prepared and wanted to harm someone.
& # 39; He is in shock. He says he can't imagine how anyone would harm such a person, & Villalaz said in Spanish.
She said her brother is recovering. She said the doctor who treated him said it helped him to immediately wash his face several times in a restaurant.
When Villalaz was attacked, a white man told him to go back to your own country & # 39 ;.
Villalaz got into a fight with the suspect about how Villalaz had parked his truck outside a Mexican restaurant in a bus lane on South 13th street around 8.15 pm on Friday.
& # 39; You cannot park here. You are doing something illegal, & the man told him. Then the comments quickly became anti-immigrant.
& # 39; Why did you come here to invade my country, & # 39; Villalaz claimed that the suspect said to him against the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Villalaz said he had ignored the offensive remarks and moved his truck a block ahead and then returned to the restaurant.
& # 39; The man was still there, stopped on the corner and waited for me with an open bottle, & # 39; Villalaz said. He thought the bottle contained alcohol.
Villalaz said he was a citizen and noted that everyone from the US had emigrated from somewhere, causing the suspect & # 39; to get angry & # 39 ;.
Then the suspect threw the battery acid at Villalaz, who turned his head, while the substance burned the left side of his face.
The acid even burned through his jacket and sweater when he started screaming in pain.
& # 39; The sensation burned and I tried to defend myself, but I could not because I could not open my eyes, & # 39; said Villalaz.
Video footage released by the Sunday restaurant shows the confrontation between the two men in which the suspect raises his finger at Villalaz and throws liquid on his face.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett shocked the attack and blamed President Donald Trump for inciting hatred against minorities
Villalaz was hospitalized for 18 hours and now has scars and burns on his face and mouth from the attack. He was released on Saturday with his left cheek and ear and neck discolored by the acid burns. His left eye was also damaged, visibly red, and his vision somewhat blurred in the attack.
& # 39; I believe (I) that I am the victim of a hate crime (of) how he approached me and said that I & # 39; this country had to leave & # 39 ;. This is actually a terrorist attack, & Villalaz said WISN.
& # 39; I am a big guy, & # 39; he said, adding that he doesn't get scared too quickly. & # 39; It is the first time in my life that I have experienced such hatred. & # 39;
He was left with horrific second-degree burns.
Blackwell was arrested in connection with a & # 39; heavy battery & # 39; Friday's incident near the same location, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.
The attack comes in the midst of a peak in hate crimes against immigrants, which extremism researchers and experts say are tied to regular political rhetoric.
A report from the Anti-Defamation League last year said that extreme anti-immigrant visions have become part of the political mainstream in recent years through sharp rhetoric by anti-immigration groups and politicians, including Trump.
Data collected by the FBI showed a 17 percent increase in hate crime in the US in 2017, the third annual increase in a row. Anti-Spanish incidents increased by 24 percent, from 344 in 2016 to 427 in 2017, according to FBI data.
Of the crimes motivated by hatred over race, ethnicity, or descent, nearly half were involved with African Americans, while about 11 percent were classified as anti-Latin American prejudice.
Brian Levin, director of the California State University-San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, published a study in July that found a 9 percent increase in hate crimes reported to the police in major US cities in 2018.
Levin found a modest decrease in biased crimes against Spanish or Latino people – from 103 in 2017 to 100 in 2018 – in 10 major cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. However, Levin said the totals would probably have increased last year, if not for an inexplicable decrease in anti-Hispanic bias reported for Phoenix, from 25 in 2017 to 10 in 2018.
& # 39; My son calls me today – & # 39; Dad, what happened to you? & # 39; And what (can I) tell him? A crazy guy did this to me, & he said through tears at a Saturday conference
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Villalaz with his medical expenses and has already raised $ 16,952 from Monday morning, surpassing the $ 15,000 goal
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was shocked at the attack and blamed President Donald Trump for inciting hatred against minorities. The president has repeatedly referred to migrants trying to cross the US-Mexico border as an & # 39; invasion & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Selecting someone because he is of Spanish descent is just wrong. And we know what's going on, & said Barrett, a democrat. & # 39; Everyone knows what happens. It is because the president talks about it every day that people feel they have a permit to go after Spanish people. And it's wrong. & # 39;
White House spokesperson Judd Deere said the Trump government has repeatedly condemned racism, intolerance and violence.
& # 39; The only person responsible for this heinous act is the person who committed it, and it is disgusting that the mayor of Milwaukee would prefer to point the finger at the president of the United States for political reasons rather than (or ) to confront violence in his own community in a responsible manner, & Deere said in a statement.
The attack has shaken the victim and made him feel unsafe.
& # 39; I am afraid of being an American citizen. I'm afraid I can't feel protected in my own country with my neighbors, & Villalaz told reporters on Saturday during a press conference, in English and Spanish.
& # 39; My son calls me today – & # 39; Dad, what happened to you? & # 39; And what (can I) tell him? A crazy guy did this to me, & he added tears to it during the press conference.
Latin leaders in the community have spoken out in defense of Villalaz and against racism.
& # 39; I am angry that an innocent man has been attacked so maliciously. I am angry that a racist could live up to his beliefs through violence against one of my voters, & said Democratic state JoCasta Zamarripa at the press conference.
Darryl Morin, the head of the Forward Latino lawyers group based in Milwaukee, speculated that the suspect was planning to attack a Spanish person.
A GoFundMe This page has been set up to help Villalaz with his medical expenses and has already raised $ 16,952 from Monday morning, exceeding the $ 15,000 target.
Milwaukee Councilor Jose Perez condemned the attack in a statement on Saturday: & # 39; This was pointless violence and it must stop. We as a community must come together to break through our differences and learn to respect each other and defuse conflicts. & # 39;
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