MILWAUKEE – A 61-year-old Milwaukee man has been charged with a hate crime for Friday’s acid attack on a Hispanic man outside a restaurant.
Clifton A. Blackwell faces a count of first-degree reckless injury, as a hate crime, in a complaint issued Wednesday afternoon.
In Wisconsin, hate crime refers to extra punishment that can be imposed on someone convicted of a crime when the victim was targeted based on their race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry.
First-degree reckless injury carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison plus 10 years of extended supervision. The hate crime enhancement would allow for an additional five years in prison.
Blackwell remains in the Milwaukee County Jail on $10,000 bail. He could make his initial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.
Mahud Villalaz, 42, suffered second-degree burns to his face after police say Blackwell splashed some kind of acid at the victim during a discussion that followed Blackwell asking him, “Why did you invade my country?”
Villalaz, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Peru, said Blackwell called him an “illegal” and told him to “go back, go back (expletive).”
Villalaz told police he called Blackwell a “racist (expletive)” before Blackwell threw the acid at him from a metal bottle he had in a satchel.
Police recovered muriatic acid, four bottles of Kleen-Out sulfuric acid and two bottles of lye from Blackwell’s residence.
Follow Bruce Vielmetti on Twitter: @ProofHearsay.
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