By Richard B. Muhammad

( – Youth prowl streets and lash out in a dangerous game: Knockout. Thugs sucker punch people, nearly killing them. Finally one of these vicious animals was arrested and charged in Houston. The alleged perpetrator isn’t the same as shadowy figures shown on surveillance tapes.

The alleged thug is a White man and the “Knockout” victim an elderly Black man. The Justice Dept. charged Conrad Alvin Barrett Dec. 26 with attacking the 79-year-old, resulting in   missing teeth and a broken jaw.

The hate crimes charge brought howls from right wingers who say Whites have been targeted by Black teens in these spiking surprise attacks. Right wingers charged inaction by a cowed government afraid to charge Blacks due to political correctness. Great story. Facts don’t back it up.


News outlets debunked Knockout reports, but right wingers would not be denied. According to a piece, former assistant U.S. attorney Fred Tecce said, “ ‘We have had a ton of these knockout cases … Part of your role as prosecutors and part of the role of the Justice Department is to send a message to the public that … the law applies to everyone.’ ” (And we know the long history this country has of not prosecuting Blacks for violating Whites right?)

“According to prosecutors, the video of the attack shows Barrett approach the victim and ask, ‘How’s it going, man?’ A ‘loud smack’ is then heard, the victim falls to the ground, Barrett laughs and says, ‘Knockout.’ …

Investigators retrieved other videos from Barrett’s phone, including some in which he uses racial epithets and talks about trying to work up the courage to play the knockout game, the complaint states. In one, Barrett says: ‘That plan is to see if I were to hit a Black person, would this be nationally televised?’ ”

More facts: In St. Louis a young White woman, was bruised and battered in November. Ashley DePew pitifully recited how three Black men accosted her.

She declared herself a Knockout victim. In early December, Ashley and her boyfriend were charged with filing a false police report. Seems like the duo lied after the boyfriend beat her up. There had been Knockout incidents in St. Louis–two years ago.

Blame Black men and racial fear mongering stories aren’t new. Charles Stuart shot and killed his pregnant wife in 1989. His lie that a Black man did it inflamed racial tensions in Boston.

His brother helped pull off the crime. Susan Smith invented a false Black carjacker to cover her murder of her two children in South Carolina in 1994.

Republican campaign worker Ashley Todd falsely reported in 2008 in Pennsylvania that a Black man carved a “B” facing the wrong way on her face and linked in to Barack Obama’s candidacy.

James Addlespurger, a teacher from Pittsburgh, Pa., was assaulted by a teen–but it was also two years ago. Television stations run videotape to look like the assault happened yesterday. The victim says his pain is being used to further other agendas. “I feel I am being exploited,” Mr. Addlespurger said, according to HuffPostLive.

Bonnie Anne Sweeten, of a Philadelphia suburb, told police in 2009 two Black men kidnapped her and her daughter, stuffing them in the trunk of a Cadillac. The White mother and daughter were at DisneyWorld.

“Two-thirds of hoax cases involve a White person who made false claims against a Black person,” writes Katheryn Russell-Brown, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She is also author of “The Color of Crime,” which explored racial hoaxes. Some 100 racial hoaxes have been documented since 1987, she noted. “These cases exemplify the entrenched image of Black deviance. These images, generated by televi ­sion, newspapers, radio, and American lore, create a menacing caricature of African Americans, particularly young Black men,” she wrote in an essay.

“An additional dimension of racial hoax cases is that many are perpetrated by police and judicial officials,” she added. In one case, a White deputy sheriff concocted a scheme to kill his wife for insurance money and the imaginary killers were Black men.

Lies about Black misconduct have led to lynching, destruction of Black communities and towns but racial hoaxes have also been used because the White “victim” or “witness” wants an excuse not to go to work or fabricates a Black carjacker to avoid making a car payment.

Can we Knockout the lies and targeting of Black people? These assaults are not a game, they have dangerous consequences.

(Final Call editor-in-chief Richard B. Muhammad can be reached at editor@ You can also follow him on Facebook and @RMfinalcall on Twitter.)