Feds charge Texas man in alleged ‘knockout’ assault

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HOUSTON —  A man has been charged with a federal hate crime in connection with what authorities say was a racially motivated “knockout” assault against an elderly black man, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, of Katy, Tefxas, has been charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

According to the federal complaint, Barrett attacked the elderly man “because of the man’s race and color.”

The suspect made a video of the attack November 24, the complaint said. In the video, he allegedly commented that “the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?”

He then allegedly “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.”

The victim suffered two jaw fractures and was hospitalized for several days, the complaint said.

Barrett’s attorney, George Parnham, said his client remains in jail. His client has bipolar disorder and takes medication, Parnham said.

Parnham said he could not state whether his client carried out the attack, but, “mental health issues definitely played a part in anything that occurred.”

Barrett “is very sorry for this person,” Parnham said, adding that he and his client haven’t had much opportunity to discuss the facts of the case.

‘Knockout game’ a national problem

The “knockout game” is an assault in which an assailant aims to knock out an unsuspecting victim with one punch.

New York police previously charged suspect Marajh Amrit with a hate crime in the alleged attack of a white Jewish man as part of a “knockout” game.

Similar cases have been reported in several states, including Illinois, Missouri, and Washington.

“Hate crimes tear at the fabric of entire communities,” U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels said Thursday in a Justice Department statement announcing the charge against Barrett. “As always, the Civil Rights Division will work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to ensure that hate crimes are identified and prosecuted, and that justice is done.”

Barrett, who is white, allegedly recorded himself on his cell phone attacking the man and showed the video to others. the department said. “The complaint alleges Barrett made several videos, one in which he identifies himself and another in which he makes a racial slur. In addition, Barrett had allegedly been working up the ‘courage’ to play the ‘knockout game’ for approximately a week.”

The victim’s face was swollen on one side, and he has had to suck out of a straw in order to drink, a nephew, Joseph Lewis, told KTRK-TV in Houston.

Barrett allegedly told an off-duty police officer what happened and even shared a video, saying he felt bad, the TV station reported.

In other videos on his phone that police confiscated, Barrett used the N-word and said that African-Americans “haven’t fully experienced the blessing of evolution,” according to the criminal complaint.

In a separate case, New York City police on Wednesday searched for a man who allegedly punched a 33-year-old woman in the back of the head in Brooklyn in what may be a “knockout” assault.

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  • Keith

    What HOLLY BS, blacks of been doing this to whites for some time now and it isn’t a hate crime. One white guys does it back to a black and it is automatically a Federal Hate Crime. This country has goon totally to CHIT…..

  • Samuel Hulin

    The point of the hate crime designation is that the victim was targeted due to race. This is hard to prove in any circumstances, this dumbass just provided the proof that this was indeed solely racially motivated. We need to stop this “them” against “us” attitude. We are all human beings. We shouldn’t need a law to tell us that beating someone for their race is wrong. There aren’t many good reasons to beat a person, but the color of their skin really isn’t one of them.
    I would not tolerate this in my community. If I saw this happen, the attacker would be detained until police arrived. I’m a rather large man, I can make that happen.

  • NN

    Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, of Katy, Tefxas… Where the hell is Tefxas????? Thats 3 stories in the past hour that I have found with typos.. Learn to read over your stories BEFORE you post them FOX 31!!

  • john cook

    I keep getting censored. What’s the matter? Is my wording too descriptive?

    The “gentleman” in question should be forcibly separated from his reproductive organ and then hung.

  • Not_today

    “The point of the hate crime designation is that the victim was targeted due to race.”

    Last I knew, white WAS A RACE!!!

    “This is hard to prove in any circumstances, this d******* just provided the proof that this was indeed solely racially motivated.”

    What about all the YouTube and surveillance videos of the black on white attacks? Oh that’s right. They were just out playing a “game!”

  • DR Commish

    Good…. We have a precedent! “Knockout” assault can FINALLY be classified as the felony that it should be.
    Somebody wake up Reverend Al…. He’s gonna be busy….

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