Police are investigating if a 72-year-old woman is the latest victim of the so-called “knockout game,” a violent trend in which youths sucker-punch unsuspecting strangers for kicks.
Mira Harpazi was walking two blocks from her home at the Starret City housing complex in Brooklyn when she was punched in the face by a man in his 20s, CBS 2′s John Slattery reported Tuesday.
Like other alleged “knockout” victims, she was not robbed, but left on the street injured.
The attack was the most recent in what may be a disturbing series of similar assaults. Online videos from various cities show young suspects randomly punching innocent victims.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was asked Tuesday whether these are bias attacks.
“The seven core ones happened in the Crown Heights area, which certainly has a Hasidic population and some of the victims were Hasidic males and children and I actually think a woman as well. So, we’re not discounting that,” Kelly said.
The commissioner added that each case is being examined individually.
Kelly said his officers are trying to stay ahead of the increasingly popular and extremely dangerous so-called “game.”
“We’re concerned about it because the public is concerned about it,” he said.
The attacks, which have taken place mostly in Crown Heights, include an assault on a 78-year-old grandmother and a 12-year-old boy on Nov. 6.
“I was punched and knocked to the ground,” said the boy, who did not want to be identified.
The boy’s father said that after his son was randomly hit by a group of teenagers, one gave “a hysterical, happy shout: ‘We got him.'”
Police said a 13-year-old boy was arrested Monday in connection with that attack after he was brought to the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights by his mother.
He was charged with assault and aggravated harassment and released to his mother’s custody. He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
According to a news release by the Jewish Future Alliance, the 13-year-old denies that he was playing the “knockout game.”
On Friday, police charged 28-year-old Amrit Marajh, one of four men, with the Borough Park punching of 28-year-old Schmuel Perl.
“Just prior to it, they were talking about the ‘knockout’ game,” Kelly said.
Meanwhile, the Guardian Angels will be out in Brooklyn on Tuesday for the second time in less than a week as a result of the latest attack.
The group will “focus on protecting the elderly Jews in that area, who are subject to copycat attacks,” according to a press release.
Community activists and politicians are urging everyone from police to the White House to take the “knockout” game seriously.
(YWN – Studio B)