A white former fashion model was arrested after kicking a 1-year-old Black boy at a Wichita grocery store while shouting racial slurs.
Lashantai Whitaker, her 1-year-old, Jhavii Fry, and her 11-year-old daughter were walking into a Dillons grocery store on Dec. 23 when Trace Riff, 31, attacked, reported the Wichita Eagle.
Police and witnesses say Fry was holding onto his sister’s hand when Riff kicked the child from behind, knocking him to the floor. Riff then went on a racist tirade in the store and shouted, “n—r,” while repeating that he was a white supremacist.
Riff was charged with felony attempted aggravated battery for kicking the boy.
Riff was only charged with “attempted” battery because the child was not injured. Had there been “great bodily harm,” Riff would have been hit with plain aggravated battery.
If convicted, Riff could face additional prison time if they determine his act was motivated by race or if the child was “particularly vulnerable due to age.”
The Wichita chapter of the NAACP wants the case to be prosecuted as a hate crime. According to the NAACP, the rest of the family is now experiencing psychological trauma. Whitaker says her 11-year-daughter is now afraid to walk to school.
Riff also has past felony charges from prior cases. In a separate set of charges, Riff is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and with misdemeanor criminal trespass on Jan. 3.
As an 18-year-old, Riff, a native of Oklahoma, worked as a high-fashion model in New York City. He often traveled abroad for major campaigns; however, substance abuse and mental health problems led to a downward spiral.
Riff’s family says he has since been homeless.
(Photo: Sedgwick County Jail)