By Bassel Barakat
A man has been taken into custody over kicking a one-year-old black toddler and unleashed racial slurs in Sedgwick County, Kansas.
However, the man will not be charged with a hate crime as Kansas state law does not include hate crime statues.
“The first question to ask about a proposed hate crime is factors such as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, the motivation for the crime,” criminal defense lawyer Dan Monnat said.
“Was the crime motivated by such extraneous things as alcoholism, drug addiction; usual motives for crime?”
He went on saying that although no hate crime statutes exit on state law level, there could be another option for prosecution.
“If a hate crime escapes state prosecution, the person may also be prosecuted federally,” Monnat added.
The incident took place last month when Trace Riff, 31, kicked the toddler from behindat a grocery store.
He has been charged with attempted aggravated battery as the child was not injured.
Riff was released before he was arrested again recently on drug charges. He faces charges of criminal trespassing and abuse of toxic vapors.
For his part, Ben Scott, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP in Kansas, decried the incident.
“You’re never going to do away with discrimination, that’s always going to be there,” Scott said, “But I think there are strides that can be made that make people of color feel more a part of Kansas.”
Scott said he failed to get hate crime bills passed when he was a state representative.
“If someone has never been victimized by a hate crime, they really don’t know the magnitude of it,” Scott said, “For those people, African Americans and many other minorities that have fell victim to those kinds of things, they know what it’s like, so we’ll keep fighting for it and hopefully Kansas will come around.”