Texas man charged with hate crime in ‘knockout game’ assault

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27

A man charged with a federal hate crime in connection with a “knockout” assault against an elderly black man appears in court Friday afternoon for a detention hearing.

Authorities say the assault was a racially motivated.

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, of Katy, Texas, has been charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.

According to the federal complaint, Barrett attacked the 79-year-old 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, told CNN the affidavit does not “pull back the layers of mental health.”

His client has bipolar disorder and takes medication, Parnham said in an earlier call.

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.

According to the Justice Department complaint, there have been “knockout game” incidents, some of which have been called other names, as long ago as 1992.

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 recently 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 use a straw to drink, a nephew, Joseph Lewis, told CNN affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.

The station reported that Barrett faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Barrett told an off-duty police officer what happened and shared a video, saying he felt bad, the affidavit said.

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.

“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 Special Agent in Charge Stephen Morris of the FBI’s Houston office. “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.”

New York case

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.

Despite that and other cases, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said last month that city officials haven’t seen evidence of a trend, though they are not ruling out the idea.

“The press has named it the so-called knockout game. We don’t discount that that exists. It’s a possibility. We’ve investigated and will continue to investigate,” Kelly told reporters in late November.

33 comments

  • FaithC

    “His client has bipolar disorder and takes medication”…

    Oh please, cry me a river. This scum was planning this for a week, that is not some outburst that he could not control. He planned this, he carried it out and he was well aware of what he was doing. I am sick of hearing scum like this are not responsible for their actions. He needs to go to prison where he will have that smile wiped off his face.

  • Wizzard

    When you are raised in a culture of violence, you will act out with violence. Had these two been raised with loving parents who taught them well, read to them, loved them and nurtured them, then maybe this would not have happened.

    But when you are raised on rap music, drugs and crime, the results are not hard to predict, prison. Instead of giving these kids names when they are born, we should just issue them a future prison number at birth and a nickname that they all seem so fond of instead of knowing each other by their real names.

    • jd

      His butt will be “blessed with evolution” for the next five years in prison where the “knock out” game takes on whole different meaning.

    • Terry Torain

      dont blame your family or neighborhood for your actions. you have
      your own mind and every one sees as much good than they do evil.
      i would understand that comment if someone was raised by a pack of
      wolves,but were not dogs.we have much bigger brains.so stop blaming
      society and start using them.

    • uncgslim85

      You can’t blame rap music for violence. ..I grew up on rap music…violent video games and watching the ufc… you have to blame the parents if I would of tried half this stuff I read on the news my mom would of killed me…single parent home btw

  • sinnerfrank

    Maybe the man has friends that will really enjoy the game with him!!The cure for his weak excuse is a good ole 38 S&W !!

  • B

    You could say mental health or substance abuse plays a part in every crime. I left one thing out, greed. Some have all three.

  • Cate

    You realize he just proved a point bc these other “knockout games” have been committed by young black teens against whites and jews. They have not received the attention and prosecution level that this trial will being a white person committed it against a black.

    • J. Berry

      ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! This Idiot deserves to go to prison. But, all the other videos of these Cowards shows black teens hitting white people and it’s never mentioned to be a race hate crime. This country is so scared of someone marching or throwing a fit over race. Weak, weak America. Sad

  • Steve

    While I do believe this is horrible what he did, there seems to be a double standard here. Blacks have been targeting whites and Jews with no mention of hate crimes! Time to bring back the 1800s way of dealing with these things!

    • jd

      “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”

      Copied from the above article. Hope this helps.

  • john jacob

    Now that a white man has done this to a black man, it’s a hate crime. So what is it called when all the”knockout game” videos on YouTube does a black man hitting a white man? Why isn’t that a hate crime? This country is so backwards it’s not even funny.

  • jd

    Lets bring back the old days of reading and comprehension.

    For all of its advantages, yes i admit there are some, being white in the south can be as equally embarrassing.

  • Shelley

    I’m sorry but being diagnosed with having bipolar and BEING ON MEDICATION or not being on medication does NOT give you a good excuse for planning and walking up to an elderly gentleman due to the color of his skin and knocking him so hard upside the head that he was knocked out and had a jaw fracture. There are plenty of people in this world who have bipolar disorder who do not walk around assaulting other people and committing crimes. This was just an excuse to be a racist pig.

  • Larry Shelton

    we need laws like they have in Saudi Arabia when theres a hate crime. first time cut off a hand, second time the other hand, then a foot, then another time another foot then on and on.

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