Hate Crime Charged in "Knockout Game" Assault

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 26 2013 3:22 PM

Hate Crime Charged in "Knockout Game" Assault of a 79 Year-Old Black Man

A Texas man has been arrested and charged with a federal hate crime for an alleged “knockout game” assault on an elderly black man, according to the Department of Justice. The case of the 27-year-old white defendant Conrad Barrett may become a rallying cry for right-wing bloggers who oppose hate crimes legislation.

The Associated Press cites authorities as saying the assailant hoped his videotaped assault would gain national exposure. A Department of Justice press release describes Barrett’s attack, which left his 79-year-old victim hospitalized for four days with a broken jaw, as premeditated and racially motivated:

Barrett allegedly recorded himself on his cell phone attacking the man and showed the video to others. 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.
Advertisement

For the uninitiated, the “knockout game” involves assaulting someone at random, and if you’re able to knock them unconscious with one punch, you win. But despite recent media hysteria, Slate’s Emma Roller has pointed out there’s no empirical data to support the conclusion — as some right-wing writers have — that the game’s reached epidemic levels, or that it’s played exclusively by black youths. According to the Department of Justice press release, “the conduct has been called by other names and there have been similar incidents dating as far back as 1992.”

A copy of the criminal complaint emailed by a Department of Justice official describes Barrett using the word “nigger,” and quotes him as saying African Americans “haven’t fully experienced the blessings of evolution.” Following the attack, the victim, referred to in the complaint only as “R.C.,” was diagnosed with two jaw fractures. Doctors inserted two metal plates in his jaw and removed three teeth, according to the complaint

Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, federal prosecutors have jurisdiction over a racially motivated hate crime if the attacker caused bodily injury because of the victim’s race.*

*Correction, Dec. 26, 2013: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the qualifications for charging someone with a racially motivated hate crime. The crime does not need to have affected interstate or foreign commerce, or occurred on federal property.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 2:57 PM ISIS Helps Snuff Out Conservative Opposition to Government Funding Bill
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.