Knockout Game Player Charged With Hate Crime, Sparks Racial Debate

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Conrad Barrett was arrested Thursday and charged under federal hate crimes law, which defines a hate crime as “motivated by enmity or animus against a protected class.”

The FBI also lists anti-white crimes as hate crimes, but the fact that he was charged for playing the "knockout game" and assaulting a black man has sparked controversy.

The knockout game, in which an assailant tries to knock out a random bystander with a single punch, has garnered national attention in recent months.

It is unclear whether the "game" has become more popular or whether the Internet has simply allowed for isolated incidents to be broadcast more widely.

The majority of the reported knockout game incidents, however, have involved black men targeting white victims and none triggered federal involvement.

The fact that the Justice Department elected to step in now, when a black man was the victim, has critics saying the government is using the hate-crime statute unevenly.

Donald Green, a political scientist at Columbia University in New York, says:

“The reason why you have black perpetrators and white victims being prosecuted asymmetrically hinges on what evidence there is about why they’re doing what they’re doing."

“If suspects call the victim racial names, and one of the other witnesses testifies to that effect, it would be prosecutable as a hate crime."

That last part could be the key here. According to the federal affidavit, the government appears to be preparing a case along those lines in Texas.

Federal prosecutors say Barrett planned the November 24 attack, which he filmed with his cellphone. He approached “G.C.”, an elderly black man.

“How’s it going, man?” Barrett said, then punched the stunned victim so brutally hard that G.C.'s jaw was broken in two places and he lost three teeth.

Barrett then allegedly cried “knockout!” and ran.

Conrad Alvin Barrett Mug Shot

He was caught after he told the tale at a bar, where an off-duty cop was present. Federal prosecutors argue that the attack was motivated by racial animus.

Police found videos in which Barrett allegedly used racial epithets and at one point said that black people “haven’t fully experienced the blessing of evolution.”

In another video from the day of the assault uncovered in the investigation, Barrett says, “If I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?”

A single hate crime charge carries a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Still, some conservative bloggers see racial hypocrisy at work.

“This case shows how warped law enforcement has gotten as a result of hate crime legislation,” writes Rick Moran on the American Thinker blog.

“No matter who is in charge, the law will always be selectively enforced. It makes a mockery of the notion of equal justice under the law.”

Hate crime charges have been brought by New York State this year against one black suspect accused of playing the knockout game (a Jewish man was hurt).

For his part, Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, is not convinced that knockout game attacks are growing. Or that it's even a game.

He argues in an upcoming journal article that racially fueled knockout attacks are in the news is because they’ve actually become rarer than in the past.

Therefore, they're more notable than in the 1990s, when far more reports of so-called “thrill hate crimes” - think white teenagers beating up homeless men - were reported.

“These knockout attacks are usually interracial, but not every interracial crime is a hate crime," Levin says, drawing what he feels is an important distinction.

“This is a thrill hate crime because typically young people who go out looking for someone to bash or assault, the act doesn’t necessarily require some triggering episode in wider society."

According to FBI hate crime statistics, 22 percent of the 3,297 reported racially motivated hate crimes in 2012 were anti-white, while 66 percent were anti-black.

The Justice Department insisted on Thursday in response to the controversy that it does not discriminate in how it makes decisions on hate crime charges.

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FBI statistics say so? why is it so different what i have read before??? sounds total bs... OR... they didnt mention the huge number of black on black attacks and let us believe whites do it... wordplay...

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This is what you get for voting in a black president! Equality and preservation for blacks only whilst white, brown, pink, yellow can be labelled ad racists, i wonder what jews think of the very blacks they presented as 'good' now!

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This guy is probably getting what he deserves in a Hate Crime charge. It is true though that many blacks who should be charged with Hate Crimes since Obama and Eric Holder took office, have not been charged and many black hate crimes are covered up. Probably thru the years though many blacks have been persecuted, and now reverse persecutions of whites are taking place and thats how the cookie crumbles.

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those other guys don't have it on a cell phone saying they want to knock out a white or black person to an off duty police office. i have see a lot of video and most are black on black and it not right.

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How many blacks have been charged with hate crimes? Zero? If not show me one! Black on white crime is 90% compared to the other way! Blacks account for 50% of the violence in this country .

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@ Sims

those other guys don't have it on a cell phone saying they want to knock out a white or black person to an off duty police office. i have see a lot of video and most are black on black and it not right.

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These guys that play knockout game should all be charged with hate crime. Why don't they hit George Zimmerman?