Outrage over ‘knockout game’ violence

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries addressing a news conference at the Crown Heights Youth Collective.
Photo courtesy of Office of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Leading Brooklyn politicians have expressed outrage over violence related to the “knockout game,” a local and national phenomenon in which unsuspecting strangers are struck on the head and knocked to the ground.

At a news conference at the Crown Heights Youth Collective, the legislators, as well as Brooklyn District Attorney-Elect Ken Thompson and community leaders, expressed deep concern in which there have been numerous incidents related to the “knockout” game.

Legislators who attended the meeting were: Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Brooklyn Borough President-Elect Eric Adams, Assemb. Karim Camara (AD-43), and Councilmember-Elect Laurie Cumbo.

“Random acts of violence, particularly when targeted at people on the basis of race or religion, will not be tolerated,” said Jeffries. “If you violently participate in the knockout game, we will do everything in our power to make sure that the criminal justice system is there to knockout socially unacceptable behavior.

“We must also make sure that we positively reinforce young people throughout the community in a manner that promotes constructive activity by at risk youth,” he added.

Clarke said the Brooklyn community “will not tolerate random acts of violence,” adding that “attacks on any people in our community are an attack on our community as a whole.

“With the leadership of this community and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), we will stop the violence that threatens our safety,” she said.

Adams described the attacks as a “dangerous, despicable game,” stating that it “represents the worst kind of sick violence.”

He said the perpetrators “must be dealt with swiftly and harshly.”

Thompson said he was standing with his colleagues in government – group of African American and West Indian American leaders – to “reach out now, before it’s too late, to any young person, who thinks, for one second, that it’s cool to sucker punch a totally unsuspecting, defenseless person for laughs or to gain some ridiculous measure of status.

“There is no status to be gained when you cowardly sucker punch a defenseless victim or you watch or encourage a friend to do the same,” he said.

“It’s not cool, it’s not right, we know better, and it won’t be tolerated,” Thompson added. “A civilized society demands that we cannot and will not tolerate such senseless violence.”

Camara said he deplored acts of violence against anyone, denouncing the “vicious and reprehensible acts of violence occurring across Brooklyn and the country.

“We must see such acts of violence against any individual as an attack against every individual,” he said, commending Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force and local commanding officers for their “swift action and commitment to investigating” these incidents.

According to the NYPD, several victims have been assaulted in similar fashion in Crown Heights, which has a sizable Jewish population.

Over the weekend, authorities arrested and charged Amrit Marajh, 28, with aggravated assault as a hate crime, assault as a hate and assault in the third degree in relation to an attack on a Jewish Brooklyn resident.

Last week, a 78 year-old woman was attacked while walking down the street in Midwood.

There have been reports of similar assaults on innocent victims of all ages in New York, Illinois, Missouri and Washington, D.C.

In New Jersey, one man died as a result of injuries connected to the violent game.

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