NEW YORK — It’s a disturbing new “game” that’s terrorizing residents in East Coast cities. Even more disturbing: There are reports of the game moving West.
The game, according to WPIX in New York City — where the incidents seem to have originated, is called “Knockout.” It involves a group of individuals targeting a random person for an unprovoked sucker-punch, seeking to knock the target unconscious in one blow.
It’s a growing trend among bored teens, police say.
After a string of seven similar attacks were reported in New York, including several attacks in predominately Jewish neighborhoods, the New York Police Department has gone so far as to start investigating the incidents as hate crimes.
WPIX reports that the most recent attack was caught on surveillance video this week in New York’s Crown Heights neighborhood. Ten men spotted a man walking alone, punched him — knocking him unconscious — and kept on moving.
There are widespread reports of similar attacks taking place in the Tri-State area, especially in New Jersey, where a man died of injuries sustained after being knocked out by a random teen in October.
There are reports of similar attacks in St. Louis and in Pittsburgh, where teacher James Addlespurger was knocked out by 15-year-old he did not know on his walk home from school last month. The teen was charged for the assault, which was caught on a security camera.
“The video speaks for itself,” Addlespurger told WTAE-TV. “But I don’t remember it happening when it happened.”
Days after the attack on Addlespurger, a WTAE reporter took to the streets, asking unidentified teens to describe the motivation behind the game.
“It’s for the fun of it,” one teen said. “It’s like when you were a little kid, running around and hitting people. Only now you’re grown, so you can knock ’em out. Even though they shouldn’t be doing it, people do it.”
One New York man told WPIX he believes it all comes down to finding ways to get teens involved in more enriching activities — maybe even after school jobs.
“People need to do more constructive stuff with their time,” the man said. “If people are working and trying to get their money together, they wouldn’t have time for this nonsense. It’s crazy.”