Katy, Texas resident, Conrad Barrett, was arrested and charged with a federal hate crime for allegedly assaulting an elderly black man during a “knockout game,” according to CNN.
Authorities allege that on November 14 of this year, Barrett attacked the 79-year-old man because of his race. He then allegedly recorded the attack on his cell phone, showing off the footage to others. The federal complaint also alleges the 27-year-old made several copies of the video, one in which he identifies himself, and in another he is seen uttering a racial slur. Barrett allegedly said that African-Americans, “haven’t fully experienced the blessing of evolution,” according to the criminal complaint as reported by CNN.
Investigators have surmised that Barrett had been revving himself up to play the latest violent street fad of attempting to knock out unsuspecting strangers, often using a sucker punch for the sheer amusement of the attackers or accomplices. The “knockout game” has unfortunately caught on across the country and its players are oftentimes youths. Law enforcement has reported serious injuries and even deaths as a result of this game.
The complaint alleges that Barrett admits in a video, “the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?” Barrett reportedly also claimed he would not hit “defenseless people,” just moments before punching the elderly man in the face.
The elderly man was allegedly struck hard and instantly fell to the ground. Barrett then ran away laughing and uttering the word “knockout,” as he headed to his parked vehicle and fled the scene.
The elderly man, whom police have not yet identified, suffered two fractures to his jaw and was hospitalized for four days following the incident.
Barrett’s lawyer, George Parnham, told CNN that his client is, “very sorry for this person,” and suffers from bipolar disorder, which requires him to be on medication. Parnham also revealed to CNN that Barrett’s, “mental health issues definitely played a part in anything that occurred.”
If convicted, Barrett faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.