WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of kicking a 1-year-old black boy and yelling racial slurs in a Kansas grocery store was back in jail Thursday after being arrested in a drug possession case.
Trace Riff, 31, was booked into the Sedgwick County jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and is being held on a $2,500 bond, according to jail records. Further details about the arrest were not immediately available.
Riff is facing municipal charges of battery and resisting arrest . The boy’s mother and other witnesses allege he kicked the child at a Dillon’s store on Dec. 23 and then yelled racial slurs. The boy was knocked to the ground but was not seriously injured.
The FBI participated in the investigation and black leaders in Wichita are asking that the case be considered a hate crime. The boy’s mother, Lashantai Whitaker, said her 11-year-old daughter, who was holding her brother’s hand when he was kicked, is now afraid to walk to school, The Wichita Eagle reported .
“It causes a lot of worrying and stress,” Whitaker said Wednesday.
The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, which could bring more serious charges, is reviewing the case.
Riff’s grandmother and brother told The Eagle that he was once an international model whose life spiraled out of control because of mental health and substance abuse problems. After spending a couple years walking runways in several countries, Riff returned to Oklahoma City and became homeless, sometimes living in dumpsters before moving to Wichita, his grandmother, Twila LaRue, said Wednesday.
LaRue acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations against her grandson but said her family has tried to help him for years without success.
“To incarcerate him is not helping. What I was hoping from this is Trace would be able to get help,” said LaRue, a 74-year-old Oklahoman who works in a group home for emotionally disturbed boys.
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