The NYPD is currently looking into a series of attacks on Jews in Crown Heights, New York after one assault last Wednesday left a 12-year-old Jewish boy injured after being sucker punched to the ground by a group of teenagers.
This is the most recent of 8 similar attacks that have taken place in the area since September, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed to CBS news. One surveillance tape shows a 19-year-old Jewish man thrown to the ground after he was issued one unsuspected blow by a group of black teenagers.
Crown Heights is a predominantly Orthodox Jewish and African American community, and has made headlines before during the Crown Heights Riot of the early 1990s.
CBS says the victims of these recent crimes were targets for teens playing a “new” game called ‘Knockout’.
“Knock out the Jews, maybe.” says a Brooklyn rabbi, Yaacov Behrman.
The premise of Knockout is pretty self-explanatory: dare someone to sucker punch an unsuspecting, innocent person for no reason at all. Try to take them out with one shot. Then, walk away.
Because these particular assaults all involve anti-Semitic undertones (there have also been cases of graffiti’d swastikas in the same area), these particular attacks are being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
But Knockout isn’t a new game.
The boys, two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old, allegedly followed Ralph Erick Santiago on a street in Hoboken before one teen threw a punch at the victim’s head, causing Santiago to fall back into an iron fence, lodging his neck between two bars, and eventually dying, The Daily News had reported.
In October of 2012, James Addlespurger, a high school teacher in Pittsburgh, was a victim, and his startling attack by a 15-year-old was caught on surveillance camera, as shown in the video below. Addlespurger survived his attack.
“One time they even got the UPS guy,” a man in Jersey City says in the video below.
What’s the point?
Business Insider spoke to a New Yorker named Ike who says Knockout has been around for a while.
“I remember it from when I was 11,” the 27-year-old told us, “and I’ve seen white kids do it, black kids, Spanish kids.”
Ike says the game surfaces when kids get restless and fearless in big groups.
“A friend of mine was the victim of it years ago. He was walking in Washington Heights and a group of kids just came up to him and one punched him in the face and ran off. They broke bones in his face.”
He remembers his friend said the teenagers laughed as they ran off, similar to reports in the news over the recent days and months.
“These were bored kids,” Ike says.
As for Knockout appearing back in the news over the last few days, Ike says even though it isn’t a new game, it’s deserving of the attention.
“I’m sure there are some sick people who are like ‘let’s knock out the first Jewish person we see [walking] alone,'” Ike explains. “But they’re also like “let’s knock out the first person we see alone, whoever they are”. It’s not only a rise in anti-semitism…it’s a rise in senseless violence period.”
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