A Wisconsin man charged with a federal hate crime was released on his own recognizance last week, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
Milwaukee County resident William McDonald allegedly targeted at least one Puerto Rican neighbor and eight Black residents in his apartment complex, “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.
The alleged incidents spanned from March 2021 through April 2022, according to the affidavit.
McDonald left threatening and vulgar notes on the windshields of vehicles of neighbors that McDonald perceived to be speeding throughout the neighborhood in West Allis, the affidavit said.
Court records indicate McDonald has been appointed two attorneys. CNN has reached out to them for comment.
McDonald denied writing the notes, the affidavit states.
In one instance, a Black neighbor of McDonald’s received at least two threatening notes under her apartment door demanding she move out of the apartment complex, the affidavit reads. McDonald’s notes threatened further damage if the individuals did not move out of the neighborhood, according to the court document.
McDonald also slashed the tires of multiple victims’ vehicles, according to the affidavit.
Authorities believe McDonald’s alleged actions are in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the misdemeanor charge would qualify as a hate crime, the affidavit reads.
Surveillance footage and a traffic stop in which officers obtained personal information about McDonald – such as his handwriting – allowed federal investigators to connect McDonald to the string of incidents, according to the affidavit.
McDonald cannot associate with any of the witnesses or victims associated with this case; cannot possess a firearm or other weapon; is required to stay at his aunt’s house outside the neighborhood; and must submit to GPS monitoring, according to the terms of his release.