Dangerous “knockout” attacks on strangers are leading to arrests, more officers flooding the streets and more warnings for vigilance by an unsuspecting public.
Perpetrators have dubbed the violent practice as the “knockout game,” in which young people try to randomly knock out strangers with one punch.
Recent attacks in New York, New Haven, Conn., Washington, D.C. and suburban Philadelphia have raised concerns across the country. The violence is not new, though. In 2011, St. Louis had a rash of similar incidents, one of which led to the death of a Vietnamese immigrant.
Some of the assaults are recorded and posted on social media by the attackers.
In New York, police have charged Amrit Marajh, 28, with two felony hate crimes after they said he assaulted a 24-year-old Jewish man wearing a yarmulke Friday in Brooklyn, NYPD Sgt. Carlos Nieves said.
Marajh, who is Trinidadian, was talking about the knockout game with three other men and made an anti-Semitic statement just before the incident, Nieves said.
The victim was not seriously injured.
New York police Sgt. Brendan Ryan said in an e-mail that extra officers have been assigned to the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn. . The NYPD wouldn’t confirm how many suspected knockout assaults have been reported.