Prosecutors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have charged a white man with a hate crime in last week’s acid attack on a Hispanic man.
Clifton Blackwell has been charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, but the additional charges of a hate crime and using a dangerous weapon could send him to prison for up to 25 years if he is convicted.
Police say they found various chemicals in Blackwell’s home, including sulfuric acid and a 100% lye drain cleaner.
Blackwell has yet to make his first court appearance and enter a plea. His family says he is a veteran who served in the Marines and was being treated for an unspecified medical issue.
Mahud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen born in Peru, suffered second-degree burns on his face when Blackwell allegedly threw acid on him outside a Milwaukee restaurant last Friday night.
Surveillance video captured the attack. Villalaz says the suspect identified as Blackwell confronted him about a parking space.
Villalaz said he walked away to move his car, but that Blackwell followed him and accused him of being in the U.S. illegally and “invading my country.”
Villalaz says a few obscenities were exchanged, and he called Blackwell a racist before Blackwell allegedly threw the acid into Villalaz’s face. Villalaz darted into the restaurant to rinse his face with water. On the video, the suspect made no effort to run away.