It was announced today that for the first time, federal authorities have investigated a knockout attack as a hate crime. Unlike the vast majority of the other knockout attacks, a white man was the perpetrator.
Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reported,
"The charge marks the first time the administration has taken action on a “knockout” case after the game became an Internet and media phenomenon. It chose a case in which the person accused is white, even though most other cases reported in the news have involved black assailants."
Conrad Alvin Barrett, a bipolar 27-year-old, was "charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act," after he punched a 79-year-old black man as reported today at CNN. Barrett's attorney, George Parnham, said that "mental health issues definitely played a part in anything that occurred."
The victim was not identified. The criminal complaint can be found here.
Interestingly, Laura Ly of CNN reported on Wednesday that a 33-year-old woman was walking with her daughter, 7, in Brooklyn when she was punched in the back of the head for no apparent reason by a man she never met.
With no sense of irony, Ly reported,
"At least nine suspected 'knockout' attacks have been reported since October in New York, but police have said they see no evidence of a trend."
In the most recent case, which occurred on Saturday, Officer David Hartman said that police do not have a suspect in custody, but he felt confident enough to declare that there is "no reason to believe this is a hate crime.”