The Wichita Police Department says it arrested a man and is investigating an incident at an east Wichita Dillons store which has been described as a “racially motivated crime.”
31-year-old Trace Riff was arrested following the incident. According to police, Riff, who has a history of not reporting to parole officers, drug use and violent crimes, and is on probation in Oklahoma for a felony meth charge, was arrested on a count of “battery that was bias and racially motivated” and resisting arrest.
“Through the investigation, it was learned Trace walked into the store and kicked a 1-year-old victim in the back, causing the child to fall on the floor,” police say.
According to witnesses, Trace did this while yelling obscenities and racial slurs.
Lashantai Whitaker is the mother of the 1-year-old boy, and on Wednesday she spoke about what happened early Sunday morning.
“We were barely in the store and (Trace) kicked him in his back,” Whitaker says. “All I heard was a loud thud and my daughter screaming.”
The man went on a rant, Whitaker said, yelling the “N word” and saying he was a white supremacist. She says Trace tried to get away but another customer tackled him.
She says when Trace kicked her son, he came up behind them. She described it like “a sneak attack.”
She says her son was not seriously injured, but “[Riff]could have done serious damage.” Whitaker says she’s confused by what happened and hopes Trace does time for what he did.
“What grown person, I mean, even if you do have that much hate for someone,… I mean, why would you attack a baby?” Whitaker says.
Riff bonded out of jail several hours after his arrest Sunday. Now, the boy’s mother and grandmother say they fear that with the man back on the streets, another child could be attacked.
“I don’t understand: He’s out just hours after he attacked a baby,” said Yolanda Frierson, grandmother of 1-year-old Jhavii Fry.
“He could attack someone else’s kid . . . if he’s out and he’s everywhere,” said Whitaker.