Things That Matter

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.

#UPDATE: Alleged Milwaukee #AcidAttack I just spoke to the victim’s family, they say he was leaving Mexican restaurant…

Posted by Chernéy Amhara on Saturday, November 2, 2019

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. 

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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Things That Matter

Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Photo: Polk County Jail via Associated Press

On Wednesday, an Iowa woman pled guilty to federal hate crime charges. The woman, 43-year-old Nicole Poole Franklin, intentionally hit a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina with her car in 2019. The charges include two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act, as Poole Franklin intended to kill the victims because of their ethnicity.

Nicole Poole Franklin admitted to authorities that she targeted the girl because she thought she looked “Mexican”. She thought the boy was an Islamic terrorist.

As part of her defense, Poole Franklin is claiming that she suffers from schizophrenia and PTSD. Since her arrest, she admitted to police officers that she smoked meth before going on her hate-filled rampage.

The incident, which happened in December of 2019, struck fear into the hearts of communities of color in Des Moines, Iowa, where the hate crimes took place. “Anytime things happen to any minority, people are concerned about what happened,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in Iowa. “It was a horrific thing and people were concerned — especially people of color.”

When Nicole Poole Franklin ran over the children, she injured the boy’s leg. The girl, Natalia Miranda, was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for two days.

Natalia Miranda was walking to junior high school on December 9, 2019, when Poole Franklin ran her down on the side walk. Miranda was unconscious for 40 minutes before she woke up and walked to school, where she alerted the authorities.

Natalia Miranda says she remembers the car speeding towards her, but she doesn’t remember being hit. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” the 14-year-old told KCCI. “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

As of now, prosecutors are recommending that Nicole Poole Franklin serve 27 years behind bars.

Poole Franklin is also looking at two charges of attempted murder–both of which could carry up to 25 years each. Prosecutors are recommending that she serves all of the jailtime–state and federal–at the same time.

Here’s to hoping that the justice system does what is right and puts Nicole Poole Franklin behind bars for a long time–if only to save the lives of innocent children of color whose only crime is walking down the street.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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