Suspect in Woodman’s attack on Black family being charged with hate crime

MADISON, Wis. — The man accused of attacking a Black family outside of a Madison Woodman’s is now facing hate crime charges.

David Lythjohan was charged in Dane County Court on Tuesday. He was facing multiple charges including battery, disorderly conduct and child abuse. According to court records, those charges are now upgraded as hate crimes.

The 32-year-old Fitchburg woman told police Lythjohan opened her car door and punched her after banging on her car window. It happened at the Milwaukee Street Woodman’s earlier this month. After the 65-year-old hit her, the woman said she kicked him. The woman had already dropped her kids off at the front of the store, and they saw what was happening from a distance. Police said they ran to help her.

According to the criminal complaint, the woman said Lythjohan punched all of her children in the face and threw her 4-year-old daughter to the ground during the struggle. The other daughter told police the man started “putting his anger” on her brother and began to choke him.

The victim told a detective Lythjohan used racial slurs toward her and one of her children during the attack. A police report said surveillance video shows the kids pulling him away from their mom.

The complaint said the woman went to an emergency room with her children after suffering bruised ribs, along with face and neck pain. Officials said her son suffered a bruised nose, while her 4-year-old daughter had shoulder injuries from when the man threw her to the ground.

A petition was started shortly after the arrest calling for hate crime charges to be filed against Lythjohan. It now has nearly 7,000 signatures.

Lythjohan told officers he was upset with the woman because her car blocked him from pulling out of a parking spot. He denied punching the woman. Court records show the Fitchburg man has a history of theft, burglary and battery.