A white man has been charged with a federal hate crime in connection with what authorities say was a racially motivated “knockout” assault against an elderly black man, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday.
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. According to the federal complaint, Barrett attacked the elderly 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 his client remains in jail. His client has bipolar disorder and takes medication, Parnham said.
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.