The Department of Justice has charged a Katy, Texas man who participated in the “knockout game” with a federal hate crime.
On Thursday, federal officials announced that they arrested and charged 27-year-old Conrad Alvin Barrett — a white man — with a federal racially-motivated hate crime for attempting to knock out an unsuspecting 79-year-old African American man with a single punch.
“Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson in a statement. “Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.”
Nearly all “knockout game” attacks have featured black attackers targeting white or Jewish victims.
According to Justice Department officials, Barrett recorded the attack on his cell phone and showed it to other people. He also made other videos identifying himself in one of them and making a racial slur in another.
“The plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?” said Barrett in one video, according to the complaint.
Officials also allege that Barrett hit the man, causing him to fall to the ground, laughed, said “knockout” and fled.
The victim reportedly suffered a broken jaw in two places and had to be hospitalized for several days.
Barrett was arrested Thursday after officials filed a criminal complaint Tuesday.
“It is unimaginable in this day and age that one could be drawn to violently attack another based on the color of their skin,” the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris added. “We remind all citizens we are protected under the law from such racially motivated attacks and encourage everyone to report such crimes to the FBI.”
If he is convicted, Barrett could face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Washington Times highlights that despite an increase in reports of attacks of this type featuring black assailants and white victims, there have been few hate crime charges leveled against the attackers — but the paper notes that in November one person in New York was charged with a hate crime for targeting a Jewish man.