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"It's like he's a totally different person:" Suspect's family reacts to acid attack

Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 19:38:04-05

MILWAUKEE — A man accused of dousing a Hispanic man with acid and telling him to "go back to his country" despite being a U.S. citizen is expected to be charged in the coming days.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office confirms to TODAY’S TMJ4 that the man is 61-year-old Clifton Blackwell and that he remains jail.

Surveillance video shows the incident that happened by 13th and Cleveland in Milwaukee.

According to Mahud Villalaz, it started with an argument over a parking space and escalated to the point where Blackwell targeted his ethnicity and immigration status, eventually burning him with what's believed to be battery acid.

Lupe Martinez of the civil rights group, League of United Latin American Citizens or LULAC, said he was disgusted to hear about the attack.

"It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach that people would do that to others, any human-being, and I always feel sorry for the person, not only the victim, but the perpetrator as well," Martinez said.

He believes Clifton needs help as does Clifton’s brother, Arthur, who spoke to TODAY'S TMJ4 from Colorado.

"It's like he's a totally different person," Arthur said. "I'm a bit shocked and dismayed that he's been involved in anything in that matter. It is not like him and definitely not the brother that I knew way back when."

Court records show this wasn’t Clifton’s first run-in with the law. He was convicted of false imprisonment and pointing a gun at a person in Rusk County.

His brother said back in the day, Clifton was in the U.S. Marine Corps. He believes Clifton may be suffering from PTSD like their dad did after the Korean War.

"Obviously something's happened in the last 25 years that changed his personality in general," Arthur said.

Arthur wants to apologize for his brother’s alleged behavior.

"Everybody, including the victim you know I'm sorry that this happened," Arthur said.

LULAC and city leaders are pushing for hate crime charges against Clifton.

He’s expected to make his first court appearance Thursday.