Criminal defense lawyers across the country are learning of a new crime called the “knock out game.” The “game” typically involves an unsuspecting pedestrian who is targeted, quickly pursued and then punched extremely hard. The game has been growing in popularity and it has forced some states to review their laws regarding this type of hate, and has even gotten the attention of federal prosecutors. Some of those states are seeking a minimum of 1 year in prison for anyone who is found guilty of participating in the violent acts. Experts in bullying and violence prevention feel that those who seek out people to attack usually have “high levels of narcissism and violence and low levels of empathy.” Although this type of crime involving a group of people who set out to cause harm or mayhem is not new to law enforcement, the use of cell phone cameras has helped to increase awareness. In addition to that, law enforcement must be aware of the difference between the knock out game and a regular fight that happened in the street. This is an important factor since, normally, a third-degree aggravated assault charge does not lead to federal prosecution unless the victim is a government official or law enforcement officer. If a defendant were found guilty of a federal hate crime, they would face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
One suspect in a knock out crime was denied bail in Houston last week. 27 year old Conrad Barrett allegedly sucker punched a 79 year old black man on November 24. The attack was caught on a cell phone camera but was not connected to the attack until 12 days later. Barrett was at a restaurant and ended up meeting a couple, one of them happened to be an off duty arson investigator. The video does not show the attacker’s face, but the attacker could be seen and heard. Once the investigator saw the video, he left the restaurant and waived down a uniformed police officer across the street. According to his criminal defense lawyer and court documents in his case, Barrett had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was taking heavy medications to treat it. His defense attorney stated that when “look[ing] at the mindset behind the action you soon realize there’s a mental issue.” Barrett is now facing federal hate crime charges since he shot video of himself using racial slurs stating his intent to hit a black person to gain national media coverage. Barrett’s victim lost three of his teeth and had his jaw broken in two places as a result of the attack; he stayed in the hospital for four days.
According to experts, several knock out game cases would not be considered a hate crime because prosecutors would be required to have evidence that the victim was targeted due to their race or religion. But some are wondering why this case has the attention of the Feds instead of other knock out game cases. In fact, there have been numerous knock out game attacks on Jewish people in New York with no word of any federal hate crime charges. In fact, after an attack on a Jewish person, police stated that he would be charged with a hate crime, but that never happened.
Some who fall victim to the knock out game never see their attackers, and as a result, their attackers never face any criminal charges. For instance, a couple from Charlottesville was attacked just before the Christmas holiday as they took a walk in the city’s downtown area. Jeanne Doucette and her boyfriend Marc Adams were randomly attacked by three black men. Adams was left with a broken ankle, cracked ribs and a missing tooth as a result of the beating. Doucette suffered from bruising to her head and a torn ear cartilage. As the men attacked Doucette and her boyfriend, they continued to laugh and joke, and even stopped to hug in the middle of all the commotion. Jeanne and Marc attempted to escape the brutality several times, even throwing a purse into the street hoping they would take that and leave them alone. But the men had no interest in robbing the couple, they only seemed interested in the assault. Jeanne was able to get some blurry photos of the men, but she is confused as to why authorities are not trying to capture the men. The police didn’t release the photo of the men, in addition to failing to report anything to the public about the incident. Doucette phoned the Charlottesville police on December 29 to inquire about the ongoing investigation, but was told that the case had been suspended “due to lack of information” and it had yet to be re-assigned to another detective.
For the defendants charged in any type of criminal case, it will be very important to speak with and hire a criminal defense lawyer who completely understands all the issues and complexities that go along with your charges. The Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout all over the United States. There are criminal lawyers all over the country, but few are like those at our firm who practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Island, Surfside Beach, Columbia and several other areas.
If you or someone you know is facing federal criminal or state criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced Myrtle Beach criminal attorney. A criminal defense lawyer at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of our criminal defense attorneys to schedule your free consultation.