A New York state lawmaker has contacted the federal government for help curbing a violent social media game that may have spread from there to California.
WCBS-TV reported that state Sen. Dov Hikind (D) wrote President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder following a rash of attacks in New York City connected to a “knockout game,” in which participants are filmed sucker-punch strangers while passing by them on the street. Seven people, reportedly all Jewish, have recently been attacked, including a 78-year-old woman.
Another victim, 46-year-old Peter Santiago, died after his head hit an iron fence during a similar attack in Hoboken, New Jersey. Police subsequently arrested three teens in connection with the attack.
“I’ve already written to [Police Chief] Ray Kelly,” City Council member Peter Vallone Jr. told WCBS. “I want to know what we’re going to do about it,” he said. “These kids need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we need to ensure that this doesn’t keep happening.”
The Associated Press reported that authorities in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. have also been alerted about similar assaults, part of the “game’s” return to the public arena.
“The behavior of the sudden assault of someone who seems helpless has appealed to the idiotic impulsive quality of adolescence forever,” criminal delinquency psychologist Jeffrey Butts told the AP. “But there are now bragging rights beyond your immediate circle, when this is on television and online.”
KGTV-TV reported on Wednesday that an unidentified man in San Diego, California was the victim of a similar kind of assault in the city’s Gaslamp District, a hub for tourists and the city’s convention business.
“They weren’t talking to each other,” the victim’s wife, Victoria Hyatt, told KGTV. “They were just standing next to each other and then out of the blue, the light changed for him to walk across the crosswalk and he just, bam, hit him as hard as he could.”
Hyatt told KGTV that the assailant walked away after hitting her husband, saying, “Didn’t mean anything by it,” and that he was cited by authorities, but not arrested.
Watch KGTV’s report on the attack on Hyatt’s husband, aired on Wednesday, below.
[Image: “Angry Man Throwing A Punch” via Shutterstock]