Texas man charged with hate crime in 'knockout game' attack

Dec. 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM   |   0 comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas man has been charged with a federal hate crime for what prosecutors say was a racially motivated assault in a so-called knockout game attack.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, was arrested Thursday in the Nov. 24 incident, in which he is accused of punching a 79-year-old black man who was hospitalized for treatment of two jaw fractures.

Prosecutors said in a news release Barrett, who is white, recorded the alleged attack on his cellphone, in one of several videos in which he says "the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?"

Barrett allegedly laughed and said "knockout" before running to his vehicle and driving off. He has been charged with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Police in several U.S. cities have reported several cases of "knockout game" attacks -- in which assailants take victims by surprise and try to knock them out with one punch.

Federal prosecutors say the practice dates back to at least 1992 and has been carried out under other names as well.

"It is unimaginable in this day and age that one could be drawn to violently attack another based on the color of their skin," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Morris. "We remind all citizens that we are protected under the law from such racially motivated attacks, and encourage everyone to report such crimes to the FBI."

If convicted, Barrett, of Katy, Texas, faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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