Clifton Blackwell

Milwaukee prosecutors on Wednesday charged Clifton Blackwell, 61, with a hate crime for throwing acid on a Latino man outside a restaurant near South 13th Street and West Cleveland Avenue on Milwaukee’s south side that has made national news.

The decision from prosecutors means Blackwell could face an enhanced sentence if convicted of the charge of first-degree reckless injury.

A hate crime is an extra punishment that may be imposed on a person convicted of a crime because of the offender’s bias against a protected characteristic, such as the target’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

Muhad Villalaz, 42, sustained second-degree burns to his face in a confrontation where Blackwell accused him of being in the country illegally during. Villalaz is an American citizen who immigrated from Peru as a child.