Arnold Ahlert / December 28, 2013

The DOJ’s Curious Foray Into the ‘Knockout Game’ Fray

The first assailant worthy of federal hate crime charges is a white Texan?

Twenty-seven-year-old Conrad Barrett of Katy, Texas has been charged with a hate crime by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly targeting a 79-year-old black man as his “knockout game” victim. The victim suffered two jaw fractures in the November 24 assault. "Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated,“ said Kenneth Magidson, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas. "Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to the complaint filed by the DOJ, Barrett recorded a cell phone video of the attack in which he remarked, "the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised.“ The complaint also states that Barrett allegedly showed the video to other people and that other videos contained on the cell phone confiscated by police included Barrett using the n-word and insisting that black Americans "haven’t fully experienced the blessing of evolution.”

As a result, Barrett has been charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. If convicted, he will be facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. "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.”

There is no question that the assault attributed to Barrett was heinous and likely motivated by racial animus, but the Washington Times addresses the other issue that is undoubtedly on the minds of many Americans. “The ‘game’ has spawned a fierce debate since many of the reported victims have been white and their assailants have been black, but hate crimes charges have been all but non-existent,” the Post states.

Although there have been several incidents in which it would seem apparent that racial hate was a motivating factor – especially when one considers that other nicknames used to the describe the knockout game are "polar bearing" or "Get the Jew" – an extensive Internet search by this writer failed to turn up a single other incident where the U.S. Department of Justice pursued hate crime charges against anyone allegedly involved in the knockout game.

Not that it would have been impossible to do so. As New York City Police have noted, there have been eight knockout game attacks in Brooklyn, some of which are being investigated as hate crimes by city authorities. All of the suspects are black teens. Twenty-eight-year-old Amrit Marajh was actually charged with harassment as a hate crime by New York authorities for punching a 24-year-old Orthodox Jew.

And those are just recent incidents. According to the DOJ complaint filed against Barrett, there have been knockout game incidents going back as far as 1992. A study conducted by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics asserted that more than 250,000 Americans over the age of 12 are victims of hate crimes every year, of which one third are reported. That means there are 83,000 reported hate crimes per year. If one ten-thousandth of one percent of those hate crimes involved some version of the knockout game, the Eric Holder-led DOJ would have had at least 41 other opportunities to pursue federal hate crime charges during the five years the Obama administration has been in charge.

“The ‘knockout game’ – and the media underreporting of it – combines the breakdown of the family with the media’s condescending determination to serve as a public relations bureau for blacks," contends black American columnist Larry Elder. Elder points out that both National Public Radio and the New York Times have labeled such incidents as overblown. He further notes that, following an incident where 30-40 black youths and adults attacked three white girls in Long Beach, CA – with eyewitnesses reporting the mob yelling, "We hate white people, f— whites!” as it occurred – NPR didn’t report the incident for a month. When they did, it was used to question “whether blacks, given America’s history of racism, can even commit a ‘hate crime,” Elder explained.

Americans would be disturbed to learn how those in charge of the DOJ would answer the above question.

For instance, upon taking office, former head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez, declared that the department’s mission would be to focus on legal activism on behalf of minority groups, including illegal immigrants, “people of color” and Muslims, among others.  As Byron York wrote of Perez’s appointment at the time:

He is promising a huge increase in prosecution of alleged hate crimes. He vows to use “disparate impact theory” to pursue discrimination cases where there is no intent to discriminate but a difference in results, such as in test scores or mortgage lending, that Perez wants to change. He is even considering a crackdown on Web sites on the theory that the Internet is a “public accommodation” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

DOJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams has extensively documented the level of poisonous ideology that has infected the department under the direction of Eric Holder, who has turned the agency into a lawless tool of racial politics.

Take, for example, the gang of 30 rampaging individuals who terrorized the Iowa State Fair in 2010. Eyewitnesses reported that they were yelling it was “beat whitey night,” while they roamed the grounds looking for people to attack. A similar incident occurred at the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee, where eyewitnesses also identified a mob that injured several people as “young African American teens.” The DOJ didn’t even investigate either incident, much less pursue hate crime indictments. Contrast this with the DOJ’s role in helping to organize the racial lynch-mob calling for George Zimmerman’s head in 2012 over false charges of law enforcement racism. According to Holder, the DOJ is still considering ways to charge the acquitted Zimmerman.

If the Barrett case were the beginning of a trend of the DOJ equitably prosecuting these brutal and senseless crimes as hate crimes, then that would be all well and good. However, the notion that the DOJ’s newfound interest in prosecuting this particular type of violence is colorblind remains doubtful. A Department led by a man who dismissed America as a “nation of cowards” because we wouldn’t have a “national conversation on race,” even as his efforts to pursue selective, race-based justice has been chronicled by a former insider, no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.

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