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Posts Tagged ‘“knockout game”’

When Knockout Victim Is Black, Attacker Charged with Hate Crime

Friday, December 27th, 2013

For months, people in the New York City area have been watching media reports of a violent craze known as the “Knockout Game.” In this ugly fad, thugs attempt to knock out a random victim with a single punch, usually while the assault is being videotaped. The videotape of the attack is then widely shared, and the assailant gains that elusive currency of “street cred.”

People have wondered why, given that the vast majority of victims in the New York City area have been Jewish, the attacks have not been officially labelled “hate crimes.”

The following story provides a near perfect example of what kind of evidence would be required before an attack can be labeled a hate crime.

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On Thursday, Dec. 26, the United Stated Justice Department charged Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, with a federal hate crime after allegedly breaking the jaw of a 79 year old African American man.

On Nov. 24, Barrett, of suburban Houston, Texas, allegedly punched the victim, laughed, and said “knockout,” as he fled the scene. The victim was hit with such force that he immediately fell to the ground. The victim suffered two jaw fractures for which he had to have metal plates inserted, and was hospitalized for several days as a result of the attack.

The assault and Barrett’s glee was allegedly captured on Barrett’s cellphone, which he allegedly showed to others. According to the complaint, Barrett attacked the elderly man because of the man’s race and color in what Barrett called a “knockout.”

In addition to the claimed contemporaneous audio and video of the actual crime, there were other indicia of Barrett’s animosity towards African Americans, some of which was also captured on videotape.

For example, the complaint against Barrett states that he made several videos in which he identified himself, made racial slurs, and talked about the “Knockout Game.” Barrett was also recorded on a video saying, “the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?”

“Hate crimes tear at the fabric of entire communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuels.  “As always, the Civil Rights Division will work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to ensure that hate crimes are identified and prosecuted, and that justice is done.”

The criminal complaint was filed under seal Dec. 24, 2013, and unsealed today upon Barrett’s arrest, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.   He is expected to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate at 10:00 a.m.

“Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement. “Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.”

Because the victim’s race was part of the motive behind the attack, Barrett is being charged with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

If convicted, Barrett faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Barrett’s attorney told reporters that his client suffers from bipolar disorder.

Days after Reward Offer, New Brooklyn Knockout Attack Reported

Monday, December 9th, 2013

A New York City councilman tweeted about a new knockout attack days after a Jewish council offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of attack perpetrators.

A 20-year-old woman was hit in the back of the head and fell to the ground while walking in the Flatbush section on Saturday afternoon, according to Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

“Working with the NYPD — they are investigating. Remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity,” Deutsch said in a tweet Saturday night.

In the so-called knockout game, attackers try to knock out someone with one punch. Nearly one dozen such attacks have taken place in the Brooklyn borough of New York City since September, most directed at identifiably Jewish people, according to reports.

The attack on Saturday came less than a week after the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction, or a finding of delinquency, of individuals responsible for the reported “knockout” assaults in New York.

Other incidents of knockout attacks have occurred in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., as well as other U.S. states, according to reports.

NYC Councilwoman-Elect: ‘Knockout’ Triggered by Jewish Success

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

New York City Councilwoman-Elect Lauri Cumbo will be representing a portion of Crown Heights in Brooklyn beginning this January.

Cumbo took on a highly emotionally-charged topic in a long letter she sent to her constituents.  She posted that letter on her Facebook page – it has since been removed but is still available here – in which she discussed her understanding about the origins of what is widely referred to as the “Knockout Game.” Most of the Knockout attacks in New York City have taken place in Crown Heights. The New York City media outlet The Gothamist addressed the issue at length.

Knockout is a crime in which teens, seeking to gain notoriety, attempt to punch into unconsciousness a random victim. There is no theft. The sole goal is to, with a single punch to the head, “knockout” a blameless victim.

In New York City, at least, the victims have been largely, though not exclusively, Jewish.  Virtually all of the perpetrators have been African Americans.

Cumbo explained in her Facebook post that while campaigning in her district this past summer, she heard from many African American and Caribbean residents of a resentment felt towards the other minority in the Crown Heights community – Jews.

That resentment was attributed to “Jewish success” and the sense that “Jewish landlords” will push out their black tenants in favor of Jewish tenants. Cumbo relayed what she heard about this resentment at a town hall meeting about the Blackout problem. She offered that view because, she wrote, it was her view that resentment towards this  “Jewish success” could be at least part of what is fueling the hostility which leads to African American and Caribbean youths engaging in Knockout.

Cumbo goes to some length to declare her own respect for the Jewish people. She explained that pointing out the resentment, for her, is an effort to help to honestly explore the origin of the violent trend. Here is part of Cumbo’s explanation:

I admire the Jewish community immensely. I am particularly inspired by the fact that the Jewish community has not assimilated to the dominant American culture, and has preserved their religious and cultural values while remaining true to themselves. I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains. While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.

Cumbo was not excusing the violent behavior.  But she was resentful that the media attention given to the Knockout events had caused it to become a racially divisive issue.  In part, she blamed a Nov. 26 article in The Jewish Week for that focus on race.

Over the past month many black leaders in Crown Heights and throughout the City of New York have come out squarely, publicly, against the Knockout trend. See the video at the end of this article from a Nov. 18 press conference held by African American community leaders speaking out against the crime.

Cumbo wrote in her public letter that she wanted to play a role in bringing together the different racial groups in her constituency. She said that she wants them to move forward towards a better relationship than what they currently have.  Where she places the blame for the violence is worth noting. This is how she described it:

As an African American woman, this is challenging, because I recognize that it is Black children and not Jewish children that are playing the “Knock Out Game.” Why is this? In many ways governmental neglect, outside uncontrolled influences and failed leadership have led to the breakdown that so many young people of color are currently facing. I feel torn because I feel apart of the very system that has caused the destructive path that so many young people have decided to take while I am simultaneously demanding that they be arrested by that same system.

Former Congressman Eliot Spitzer commented on Cumbo’s Facebook posting.  He was highly supportive. He also mentioned that when Cumbo first thought about running for office he spoke with her about “different issues in the Jewish community.” Five people “liked” Spitzer’s comment – including Spitzer.

Here is the video from the Nov. 18 press conference of African American Crown Heights community leaders condemning – unequivocally – the Knockout violence.

12 Yr Old Jew Not Knockout Victim, Attacker Bullied to Attack Him

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

On Nov. 6, a 12 year old Crown Heights Jewish boy was punched in the face on the streets of Brooklyn. After striking the victim, the attacker and his accomplice ran off.

On Monday, Nov. 25, the perpetrator of the attack was arrested.  The good news: the 12 year old was not the victim of the “Knockout Game.” The bad news: the 12 year old was punched in the face by a 13 year old black boy who was “bullied into assaulting the victim.”

“His friends told him that if he did not hit someone he would not get any respect, and he was repeatedly made fun of until he did,” according to a local news source.

Don’t you feel better?

The 13 year old was charged with assault and aggravated harassment and sent home with his mother to await trial.

Jewish Grandmother Attacked in ‘knockout Game’

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Mira Harpazi, 72, left her home in Starrett City on Monday, to visit a Jewish community center in Canarsie, Brooklyn, but on her way she was slugged in the back of the head by a young thug in what cops suspect is yet another instance of the violent “knockout game,” the NY Post reports.

The attacker, in his late teens or early 20s, went after Harpazi on the corner of Pennsylvania and Flatlands avenues. He didn’t say a word or try to rob his victim, just hit her, according to police. Harpazi, a grandmother, was treated at Brookdale Hospital and released.

Her attacker is still at large.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is looking into whether the attack was a case of the “knockout game.”

Barbara Fulton, 56, Harpazi’s neighbor, told the Post: “Miriam is all the over place, she’s very independent, she’s a tough woman.”

Meanwhile, the Post reported that police on Monday have arrested a 13-year-old and charged him with assault and aggravated harassment as a juvenile for the Nov. 6 “knockout game” attack on a 12-year-old boy.

Since Oct. 11, at least eight suspected “knockout” attacks have been reported in the Crown Heights, Midwood and Borough Park sections of Brooklyn.

Another Jewish Man Victim of ‘Knockout’ Attack in Borough Park

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

An Orthodox Jew walking home from work in Brooklyn at 2:45 AM on Friday was brutally attacked by a pack of thugs playing the “knockout game,” leaving him sprawled on the ground with a giant lump on his forehead, law-enforcement sources told The NY Post.

Shmuel Perl, 24, wearing a yarmulke, was on his way to his Borough Park home when he overheard four men discussing drunkenly the “knockout” game, made famous by You Tube, in which thugs, usually Black, sucker punch passers-by, looking to knock them down to the ground, preferably unconscious.

“I was walking home on the way back from my job. I came across a group of people who were walking towards me, and I was able to hear them speaking loudly about this knockout game,” Perl, in a video interview obtained by The Post.

He heard one of the men saying, “I know you can’t do it,” and another concurred, “No, you can’t do it.”

“Yeah, I can do it! Look, I’ll do it to this guy!” one of the men—according to the Post a 28-year-old with a significant criminal record, reportedly shouted.

The man then allegedly hit Perl square in the face, making him the latest victim of the vicious assault that’s been terrifying New York City’s Jews.

“As I’m walking on the sidewalk, the group surrounds me, and one of them, as I try to get away, one of them stepped out towards me and, with a closed fist, hits me in the face,” Perl said in the video, which was recorded by the Jewish neighborhood patrol Shomrim, adding: “As I was able to walk away from them, they called after me, ‘Come back. I can do this. I will knock you out.’ ”

Perl, who called Shomrim, wasn’t seriously injured.

Four suspects, who were apparently in the middle of celebrating the alleged puncher’s birthday, were captured at the scene. Charges were pending as of Friday night, sources told the Post.

New York City police is investigating 8 other recent attacks against Jews people, still trying to figure out if they are hate crimes.

In Jersey City, a 46-year-old homeless man died in September after someone sucker-punched him and he fell back and hit his head against a fence.

The knockout assault participants have gone online to publish video and text records of their crimes.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/another-jewish-man-victim-of-knockout-attack-in-borough-park/2013/11/23/

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