Here is the result those outraged by the “game” of knockout have long awaited. A perpetrator of one of these mindless attacks, in which the goal is to render an unsuspecting passerby unconscious with a single blow to the head, has been charged with a federal hate crime.
The Washington Times reports that on Thursday federal authorities arrested and charged a Texas man in connection with the knockout game, adding a hate crime enhancement to the charge. Kenneth Magidson, U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas, is quoted as saying:
Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated. Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.
So, does this prove justice is color-blind? Not entirely. The suspect in this case, 27-year-old Conrad Alvin Barrett, is white. His 79-year-old victim is black.
In a cellphone video of the assault that Barrett recorded, in accordance with the “rules” of the game, he asks, “The plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?”
Barrett didn’t get his wish, but he did become the first assailant to break the federal hate crime barrier. (As the Times’s Steven Dinan writes, an attack on a Jewish man in last month was classified as a hate crime, but that charge, brought by the New York district attorney, was on the municipal level.)
Most attackers in knockout incidents have been black and their victims predominantly white. No suspect in such an attack was previously charged with a hate crime.
If convicted, Barrett faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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