A white Texas man faces federal hate-crime charges

Practitioners of the lately trending “knock out’ game may fail to recognize the game for what it is. It is, at the very least, felony assault and may turn into a federal offense under certain circumstances. Serving time in a federal penitentiary probably doesn’t figure in to the plans of those engaging in this latest internet fad.

The knockout game, in which an assailant tries to knock out a bystander with a single punch, has been known by a variety of names since it came into public eye in the early 90s. Usually, nothing is stolen and no other crime is reported. Social media may provide some motivation for the attacks when perpetrators, seeking notoriety, record the attacks, often by cell phone video, and some of those videos go viral.

Barrett then laughed and said ‘knock out’

A white Texas man faces federal hate-crime charges in an assault on a 79-year-old black man during a form of the “knockout game,” federal prosecutors said.

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, is charged with violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Justice Department said. The complaint alleges that Barrett, of Katy, near Houston, attacked the man Nov. 24, recorded the assault on his cellphone and showed the video to others.

In a video made prior to the attack, Barrett allegedly said: “The plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?”

In the actual attack Barrett hit the man with such force that the man immediately fell to the ground. Barrett then laughed and said ‘knockout,’ as he ran to his vehicle and fled.”

“Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated,” U.S. Atty. Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas said in a statement as he announced the charges against Barrett. “Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.” Barrett faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.

Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman