Midwood woman is latest victim of brutal ‘game’
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It’s called the “Knockout Game.” But it’s no game, according to police and elected officials.
Groups of young thugs are walking up to strangers on the streets of New York and punching them in the head, in many cases knocking them unconscious, for no apparent reason other than for laughs.
A 78-year-old Midwood woman is the latest victim of the brutal game. Police said the woman was walking past Friends Field on East 5th Street and Avenue L on Friday when she was approached by an African-American male who was approximately 20 years old. The man said nothing, hit her in the head, and left, police said.
“Knockout” attacks have also taken place in Crown Heights and in other neighborhoods across the city in recent weeks, police said. There have been eight attacks in Crown Heights alone, according to police.
Many of the victims have been Jewish, police said.
In one incident on Nov. 10, a group of young men attacked a pedestrian at the corner of Kingston Avenue and Crown Street. That followed a Nov. 6 attack on a 12-year-old boy, who was punched and thrown to the sidewalk by a group of 15 youths, according to media reports.
In response to the alarming attacks, two lawmakers and a councilman-elect have joined together to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in connection to attacks in Brooklyn.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill), who is the public advocate-elect, and Councilman David Greenfield (D-Midwood-Borough Park-Bensonhurst) are working with Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay) on the reward offer.
The reward is being offered to encourage people to come forward, the lawmakers said.
“We have zero tolerance for hate crimes, and these ‘knockout’ attacks in Crown Heights are no exception. I want to thank the 71st Precinct for their increased street presence and prompt response to these unprovoked attacks, and I ask the public to report any information related to these disturbing attacks,” James said.
The New York Daily News reported that the suspects choose their victims at random and that the idea of the “game” is to knock someone out with one punch. Knocking a victim out with a single blow is called a “one hitter quitter” move, the Daily News reported.
“The reports of unprovoked attacks on our city's streets are disturbing, especially since it appears the victims are being targeted simply because they are Jewish. We have come too far to tolerate senseless violent attacks against anyone, let alone on the basis of their religion,” Greenfield said.
“I hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about any of these outrageous incidents to immediately contact the NYPD,” he added.
“Everyone, in every community, must stand up to these heinous crimes and denounce them in the strongest way. Violent crimes such as these will not be tolerated. Not here, not now and not ever,” Deutsch said.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Midwood-Borough Park) said the most recent attack took place near his home and that he was asked by the victim’s son to help her.
“This innocent woman is 78 and she is lucky to still be alive after such a vicious assault. To make matters worse, she was too afraid to even go to the police. I learned of the incident when her son called me to ask for greater police vigilance because this ‘knockout’ rampage is occurring more and more frequently, not just in Crown Heights but also Midwood and many other neighborhoods,” Hikind said.
“It is critical that people are aware of what’s happening. It is critical that they report any and all occurrences like this to the police immediately. And it is critical that the police make every effort to arrest these cowards and thugs who target the elderly and target children, attacking them for amusement,” Hikind said.
Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to contact the NYPD's anonymous Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS