Crime & Courts

What store video shows in alleged kicking of toddler, racial slurs at Wichita store

Trace Riff, when he was booked into jail after the store incident.
Trace Riff, when he was booked into jail after the store incident. Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Wichita store video shows that a man — accused of kicking a 1-year-old African-American boy and shouting the N-word — appears to “rear back” in a “kicking or stomping motion” toward the child, says a police affidavit filed in court Friday.

A Dillons grocery store employee who helped to subdue Trace Riff after the alleged attack on Dec. 23 also heard the former high-fashion model, who is white, say: “I kicked that (N-word) in the ass,” the affidavit said.

The document, which provides other new details about the closely watched incident, details why police believed they had reason to arrest Riff, 31.

The affidavit spells out what evidence police found in interviewing witnesses before he was charged with felony attempted aggravated battery against the toddler. The boy had gone shopping Dec. 23 with his pregnant mother and 11-year-old sister in the Dillons store near Douglas and Hillside.

According to new information in the affidavit, store video shows the family walk into the store followed immediately by Riff. The boy was out of view, but the video appeared to show Riff “rear back” and make a kicking or stomping motion at the child, it says. “Due to obstructions, the contact could not be seen.”

A store employee told police that just before the alleged kicking, Riff had been “mad and loud” at a self-check register. When Riff was asked to leave, the affidavit said, he blurted out: “You haven’t heard the last from me.”

The first encounter came when Riff tried to buy cigarettes and the store refused because he had no identification, it said.

After the alleged kick, as employees or bystanders were trying to keep Riff from leaving the store, a store employee heard Riff say, “I a God, I am God,” the affidavit said.

Riff also kept yelling the N-word and said he was a white supremacist, witnesses said.

One of the store workers also heard Riff say, “I kicked that (N-word) in the ass,” it said. The employee told police he thought Riff was referring to kicking the toddler.

Riff remains in jail on a $100,000 bond. He’s also facing a felony charge of interfering with law enforcement related to the store incident and is facing a meth possession charge in a separate case.

The “attempted” part of the attempted aggravated battery charge against him apparently stems from the fact that the child wasn’t physically injured. The boy’s mother has said that a thick coat protected her son.

If convicted, Riff could face an increased sentence if prosecutors show that the crime was motivated at least in part by race or that the child was “particularly vulnerable due to age.”

The local chapter of the NAACP contended that the case should be prosecuted fully.

Riff’s relatives in Oklahoma have said that he is a former high-fashion model who enjoyed a glamorous life in New York City and abroad when he was around 18. But his life spiraled out of control from substance abuse and physical and mental health problems, and he has been homeless in recent years, they said.

One shining moment in Riff’s modeling career occurred in 2005. In a photo in Harper’s Bazaar, he posed with supermodel Gisele Bundchen. She’s now the wife of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who faces the Kansas City Chiefs in a playoff game Sunday night.

Tim Potter has covered crime and safety for The Eagle for more than 20 years. His focus is the story behind the story and government accountability. He can be reached at 316-268-6684.
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