He Threw Acid On A Peruvian Immigrant’s Face And Now He’s Being Charged With A Hate Crime
A Milwaukee man has been arrested after throwing acid in the face of a United States citizen. The victim says his attacker told him to “go back to his country” during the incident. Mahud Villalaz, who is of Peruvian descent, survived the attack that left him with second-degree burns on his face after the perpetrator instigated an argument with Villalaz regarding how he parked his truck.
A 61-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack and charges will be brought to the District Attorney’s Office, according to the Milwaukee Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Sheronda Grant, CNN reports.
A parking dispute erupts into an alleged hate crime.
According to WISN, the Milwaukee Police Department says the attack occurred at 8:25 PM on Friday. Villalaz believes the attack is racially motivated. When the attacker noticed Villalaz’s truck was parked incorrectly he confronted him at a Mexican restaurant. Villalaz says he conceded and went to move his truck. When he returned the man was there waiting for him.
“Because I was parked wrong. I’m going to my truck, and I move it half a block there. Then I get out to go to the restaurant, and the guy’s still there with a bottle in his hands,” Villalaz said.
“I believe (I) am a victim of a hate crime because (of) how he approached me. This is pretty much a terrorist attack.”
Villalaz says the attacker called him an “illegal.”
After the man approached him again, he called Villalaz an “illegal.” According to police, this is where the argument escalated.
“He started arguing, saying, ‘Why you came here and invade my country? Why you came here illegally?’ [I said], ‘Sir, you don’t know my status. I’m a U.S. citizen too,'” Villalaz recalled to ABC News. “He got mad when I told him ‘everybody came here from somewhere else.'”
This is when the attacker threw, authorities believe to be was, battery acid on him.
“I started screaming for help. I went to the restaurant to try to wash myself,” Villalaz told ABC. “I was really scared. I thought he was going to run behind me. But thank God nothing else happened.”
Villalaz was relieved that he survived the incident saying, “Thank God he didn’t have a gun and I have my life.”
A Reporter shared Villalaz’s story on Facebook.
Emmy-award winning reporter Chernéy Amhara shared Villalaz’s story on Facebook after speaking with his family. She revealed that the attacker was in fact a white male.
“Milwaukee police confirm the man suffered second-degree burns. Police say the suspect is outstanding and describe him as Caucasian male, approximately 6 ft tall with a medium build,” Amhara wrote.
“He was last seen wearing a blue winter jacket with the hood up, black pants, black shoes, carrying a black satchel on his right side and holding a silver aluminum container containing suspected battery acid with a white shopping bag with unknown lettering.”
Chernéy Amhara releases video footage of the attack.
Amhara obtained video footage of the attack from Milwaukee Police. The video shows the man waving his finger at Villalaz, before pointing at his face, then dousing him with the liquid in a bottle he was holding. Villalaz then runs back into the restaurant.
Milwaukee Alderman releases a statement about the attack.
“This was senseless violence and it needs to stop. We as a community need to come together to work through our differences and learn to respect one another and defuse conflict,” Alderman Jose Perez said.
“We need those elected officials who are spreading racial hatred to knock off the rhetoric designed to divide us. Instead, we need to work to heal the wounds that have been gashed open in the last few years. We as a country are better than this. Milwaukee is better than this.”
Hate crimes increase during the Trump era, especially for Latinxs.
According to LA Weekly, during Donald Trump’s 2015 presidential campaign alone hate crimes against Latinxs in Los Angeles had increased 69 percent by 2016. Nationally, hate crimes against Latinos increased roughly 18 percent in 2018, according to the LA Times.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and groups nationally, reported in February that hate groups have reached a record high in 2018 of 1,020 hate groups— “following three consecutive years of decline near the end of the Obama administration.”
“Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it – with both his rhetoric and his policies. In doing so, he’s given people across America the go-ahead to act on their worst instincts,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.