As previously reported by The Inquisitr, last Friday night, Mahud Villalaz, 42, was attacked in what Barrett calls an "obvious hate crime."
Villalaz, who is a U.S. citizen and who has been in the country for several years, got into a dispute with another man over a parking space in front of a restaurant. Eventually, the man allegedly began using anti-immigrant language, accusing Villalaz of "invading" the United States and telling him to go back to his own country. Villalaz drove off to find another parking spot, but when he returned to the restaurant, the man was waiting there with a bottle of acid, and allegedly threw it on the victim.
Villalaz suffered second-degree burns in the attack.
Police have arrested a 61-year-old man in connection with this crime, which was caught on a security camera. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the man's name is Clifton A. Blackwell, a veteran who served four years in the Marines. Family members say that Blackwell suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has been under the care of the Veterans Administration (VA). His mother says he left California for Wisconsin so he could access VA care.
"Once you've been in the service, you look at the world a different way. I don't know if people can understand if they haven't been there," she said.Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, said via Milwaukee Independent that he rejects the notion that PTSD played a role in this attack. He told the website that he, too, has received treatment for PTSD, but has not thrown acid into anyone's face.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett suggested that Donald Trump and his rhetoric may have played a role in this attack. Speaking to Wisconsin Public Radio, Barrett called the attack an "obvious hate crime," and pointed a finger at the Oval Office.
"This anger towards people of other countries is being fed by our president — and by his followers... Everybody knows what's happening. It's because the president's talking about it on a daily basis that people feel they have a license to go after Hispanic people... Leaders in all levels of government, starting at the White House, have to just tone it down," he said.
This is not Blackwell's first run-in with the law. In 2006, he was arrested for false imprisonment after allegedly pointing a gun at deer hunters who had trespassed onto his property.