MILWAUKEE (WGN) -- A 61-year-old Milwaukee man accused of throwing acid on a Hispanic man's face will be charged with a hate crime, increasing the possible sentence he may receive if convicted, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Prosecutors filed one charge against Clifton Blackwell — first-degree reckless injury — but added the sentencing enhancers of hate crime and use of a dangerous weapon. The two enhancers could add 10 years in prison if he's convicted of first-degree reckless injury, which is punishable by up to 25 years.
The victim, Mahud Villalaz, 42, said his attacker approached him near a restaurant Friday night and confronted him about being parked too close to a bus stop, according to charging documents. Prosecutors said Blackwell then asked, “Why did you invade my country?” and “Why don't you respect my laws?”
Villalaz said he moved his car but that Blackwell continued to berate him, calling him “illegal” and telling him to “go back, go back,” followed by an expletive. Villalaz said he called Blackwell a racist, also using an expletive. Villalaz said Blackwell threw the acid on him after Villalaz said “everyone come from somewhere first” and that American Indians had been in the country the longest.