Wisconsin man charged with federal hate crime for threatening Black neighbors
William McDonald allegedly targeted eight Black residents and a Puerto Rican neighbor at his apartment complex.
A Milwaukee County, Wisconsin man has been hit with a federal hate crime charge after allegedly targeting his eight Black neighbors and a Puerto Rican occupant at the apartment complex where they all reside.
CNN is reporting that William McDonald was charged with “willfully injuring, intimidating, or interfering with another’s housing rights because of their race, color, or national origin by force or threat of force,” according to the criminal complaint. McDonald was released on his own recognizance last week.
The report notes that the incidents lasted more than a year, from March 2021 through April 2022, during which McDonald allegedly left menacing and crass notes on the windshields of the cars of his neighbors, who he believed were speeding through their West Allis neighborhood in Milwaukee.
In one incident, McDonald allegedly slid at least two intimidating notes under the door of a Black neighbor demanding that she move out of the complex. CNN reports that he threatened further damage if his neighbors refused to move out — specifically on the basis of their race.
In addition to the threats, McDonald is accused of slashing tires on vehicles belonging to several of his neighbors.
CBS 58 is reporting that McDonald allegedly smashed car windows and that one note he left read, “stay here + see what the f— happens n—–.” Another warned “Get the f— back to the northside ghetto where you belong.”
McDonald has been charged with violating the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and has been identified through his handwriting and surveillance footage. The act is commonly referred to as the Fair Housing Act, which bars discrimination in housing sales or rentals.
While he is currently out on bail, McDonald has been ordered to not contact or associate with any of his neighbors. He is currently staying at an aunt’s home outside of the neighborhood, and he cannot possess a firearm or other weapon, and is under GPS monitoring.
According to local reporting from CBS 58, McDonald has a criminal history, including keying the car of his ex’s new boyfriend. He was also a suspect in an incident in which windshields at the car dealership where he worked were damaged.