Man pleads guilty over racist rampage targeting his Black neighbors
Judge with Gavel (Shutterstock)

A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty to federal charges for intimidating and interfering with Black residents because of their race and because they were exercising their right to fair housing, the Department of Justice said Thursday in a news release.

William McDonald, 45, of West Allis, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor.

McDonald faces a maximum sentence of up to 11 years in prison. He’s scheduled to be sentenced June 29.

McDonald confessed to vandalizing a Black woman’s vehicle parked outside her apartment by slashing her tires and smashing her windshield and leaving a note on her car laced with racial slurs threatening to slash her throat and demanding she move out of West Allis in March, 2021. A week later he slashed two of her car tires and left another note filled with racial slurs with the warning that she move out of the neighborhood or suffer violence.

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In April 2022 after a Black woman moved into his apartment complex with and her two minor children, McDonald vandalized the family’s front door with racial graffiti and left a note calling her family a racial slur and demanding the woman leave the building.

“No one should feel unsafe in their home or be subjected to harmful and derogatory threats because of the color of their skin,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said.

“The Justice Department will continue to protect the housing rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute those who use racially-charged threats to drive people from their homes.”

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division was involved in prosecuting the case.

“The conduct at issue in this case strikes at the very core of the civil rights guaranteed to every American citizen under federal law,” U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad said.

“I commend the courage of those targeted by Mr. McDonald for coming forward. The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to working with all of our federal, state, and local partners to hold individuals who violate the civil rights of others fully accountable under federal law.”