Petition calls for hate crime charges against man who attacked Black family at Woodman’s

MADISON, Wis. — An online petition is circulating with nearly 4,000 signatures asking for 65-year-old David Lythjohan of Fitchburg to be charged with a hate crime after attacking a Black woman and her kids in a Woodman’s parking lot on Madison’s east side last Thursday.

According to a police incident report, Lythjohan was arrested on suspicion of battery and disorderly conduct. Lythjohan told police he was upset with the woman because her car was blocking him from pulling out of a parking stall and he was trying to pick up his wife who was waiting outside of the grocery store. The 32-year-old Fitchburg woman who was attacked told police that the Lythjohan opened her car door and struck her in the face after banging on her car window. The report said she responded by kicking the man. The woman’s four children saw what was happening and went to get help.

According to the report, surveillance video shows the children pulling the man away. Lythjohan denied punching the woman.

An online petition describes a more detailed account of what the woman, who is identified at 32-year-old Toshiana (Raychel) Northington, said happened.

The petition states that Northington “pulled up to the front of the store to let her children out at the door while she parked the car. As her children were getting out a man pulled up behind her and began yelling racial slurs and obscenities at them out his car window. As Raychel went to park her car the man, later identified as David G Lythjohan, followed her in his car. Once she had parked near the front door the man jumped out of his car, threw open her car door and began to punch and strangle her. She attempted to fight him off by kicking and punching him. Raychel’s young son witnessing this ran up to attempt to help. As he was trying to punch the man to get him off of his mother the man then turned his anger towards the child and began to strangle him. Raychel was able to get out of the car and began to punch the man.  At this point he attempted to run away, pushing Raychel’s youngest child, a mere 4 year old baby, to the ground.  The man was apprehended by Raychel and bystanders and held until police arrived on scene.”

Northington said she was declining interviews after what she described as a traumatic experience.

“The psychological, emotional, and physical distress this has caused for this family is unimaginable,” the petition stated.

According to court records, Lythjohan has a history of theft, burglary and battery.

The online petition is calling for Lythjohan to be charged with a hate crime in addition to the battery and disorderly conduct charges in this incident.