On Friday, November 1, U.S. citizen Mahud Villalaz was attacked by an as yet unnamed 61-year-old man in a horrifying hate crime.
Villalaz—who is of Peruvian descent—was parking his car outside a Mexican restaurant when he was approached by the stranger, who said:
“‘You don’t respect my laws. You can’t invade my country, so go back to your country.’”
The frequent rhetoric of White nationalists, “go back to your country” has also been used by President Donald Trump against non-White members of Congress. The federal office overseeing equal rights in employment identifies the phrase as White nationalist hate speech.
The phrase has been used throughout history to attack non-White U.S. citizens, like the Japanese during WWII, people of Middle Eastern descent after 9/11 and POC during the administration of President Trump.
Villalaz moved his car, then returned to the restaurant to find the angry man still there.
After a small argument, the man threw battery acid in Villalaz’s face.
Security video of the incident quickly went viral online.
#BREAKING - Video shows the moment a man was hit with battery acid. Police arrested the culprit & call it a hate crime because the victim, who is Latino, says before he was hit by the white male suspect he called him “illegal” STORY: https://t.co/WAiX44Sx9d pic.twitter.com/pb2agxS6Go— Chernéy Amhara (@CherneyAmharaTV) November 3, 2019
City Alderman Joe G. Perez said the attack:
“was a heinous crime that will have a long-term impact on the life of the victim. We as a community need to come together to work through our differences and learn to respect one another and diffuse conflict.”
He believes hate crime charges are soon to come.
From a hospital bed, the alleged acid attack victim tells me he is a U.S. citizen and he believes this was a hate crime. He says the attack began as an argument over parking. @WISN12News— Chernéy Amhara (@CherneyAmharaTV) November 2, 2019
Full story: https://t.co/WAiX44Sx9d pic.twitter.com/Dzorh0fBUq
ACID ATTACK??— Chernéy Amhara (@CherneyAmharaTV) November 2, 2019
Police just confirmed to me they are investigating an altercation near 13th and Cleveland where a white male thew acid on a 42-year-old Peruvian man causing 2ns degree burns. Friends say he yelled at the man “Go back to your country.” Suspect fled. pic.twitter.com/WGJCGZ2kHD
Villalaz commented to reporters:
“I don’t want this guy near my kids, near my family. My son calls me today, ‘Daddy what happened to you?’ What do I tell him? Some crazy guy did this to me?”
It’s so hard for me to fathom that someone has so much hatred in their heart for a person of another race. ????— Beccar (@atweet2u) November 4, 2019
What have we become? https://t.co/AJWg1Hd69W— Cole (@coleycane2030) November 5, 2019
Social media couldn’t believe humanity would sink to such lows.
Who the hey carries #BatteryAcid?— Laurie Resisting (@pqlaurie) November 5, 2019
His attacker said “You came here to invade,” but Mahud Villalaz explained he was already an American citizen. The man splashed acid on Villalaz's face anyway https://t.co/RnpO1g6FcA— John Ismay (@johnismay) November 4, 2019
another beautiful day in Donald Trump's America...— Col. Bat Guano (@cerullianblue) November 5, 2019
Fortunately, the assailant is now in police custody awaiting trial.
Arrested.https://t.co/MkrQLpLcjW— Aloysius Olberding (@foraloysiussake) November 5, 2019
This is disgusting that someone in this country can possibly think this is alright. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are of this man being here but he doesn't deserve this. I hope the perpetrator spends plenty of time in jail.— Cimarron Kid (@cimarron_kid) November 4, 2019
A GoFundMe has been set up by Villalaz’s family to help cover medical expenses.
Here's a GoFundMe set up by his sister: https://t.co/TfEBtV6XGP— Jonathan Eugster ???????????? (@JonathanEugster) November 5, 2019
Hopefully justice will be served and Villalaz’s assailant will be put where they cannot hurt others ever again. And hopefully Villalaz’s family will get the help they need for medical and psychological treatment to recover from this racist hate crime.