‘Knock­out’ game is no fun for its vic­tims

Sucker punch at­tacks be­ing re­ported

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY AN­DREA NOBLE

Two sim­i­lar at­tacks on women in the Dis­trict have prompted con­cern that the In­ter­net-fu­eled youth vi­o­lence phe­nom­e­non called the “knock­out” game has taken hold in the city — but crim­i­nol­o­gists say the his­tory of such at­tacks stretch back years and hap­pen less fre­quently than per­ceived.

Re­ports of the in­ci­dents, in which at­tack­ers ran­domly tar­get un­sus­pect­ing vic­tims and at­tempt to knock them out with one punch, be­gan to re­ceive wide­spread me­dia at­ten­tion af­ter at­tacks that in­cluded a Septem­ber as­sault on a 46-year-old New Jersey man who died from his in­juries and a 12-year-old boy who was sucker punched by a group of teenagers in Brook­lyn this month.

“It’s a very old game,” said John Ro­man, a fel­low at the Ur­ban In­sti­tute’s Jus­tice Pol­icy Center. “It has a ten­dency to flare up and be a trend for a lit­tle bit.”

In the Dis­trict, two women were attacked in sep­a­rate but sim­i­lar in­ci­dents on Nov. 14 and 15 in the North­west neigh­bor­hood of Columbia Heights. Po­lice have not linked the at­tacks to the vi­cious game, with Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice Depart­ment spokes­woman Gwendolyn Crump say­ing the at­tacks are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as sim­ple as­saults and that nei­ther woman was “knocked out.”

In one in­stance, a 27-year-old woman re­ported that she was walk­ing home along the 3300 block of 14th Street in North­west D.C. when a group of ju­ve­niles on bi­cy­cles swarmed past her and one teenager hit her in the back of the head.

In the other, 32-year-old Phoebe Con­nolly said she was hit in the face by one boy as she rode her bi­cy­cle past a group of teenagers in the 2200 block of 11th Street North­west.

“He just like threw a hook with his left hand and just got me right in the face,” Ms. Con­nolly told WJLA-TV. “And he said ‘wa-pow’ as he hit me in the face.”

No ar­rests have been made in ei­ther of the D.C. at­tacks, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine the mo­ti­va­tions for the as­saults.

But re­ports of sim­i­lar at­tacks in re­cent days have streamed in from Philadel­phia

for — pro­tect­ing the right to vote.”

Lisa Wooten, pres­i­dent of the Voter Reg­is­trars’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Vir­ginia, said ev­ery other county com­plied with the state or­der.

But Ms. Wooten, gen­eral regis­trar in the city of Way­nes­boro, added, “In Chester­field’s de­fense, they had new vot­ing equip­ment, were short-staffed and two new polling places.”

In all, some 38,000 Vir­ginia vot­ers’ names were struck from the rolls be­fore the elec­tion.

Fair­fax County re­moved 7,206 of 7,934 names pro­vided by the state, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal elec­toral board sec­re­tary Brian Schoen­e­man. In Loudoun County, Mr. Her­ring’s home, gen­eral regis­trar Judy Brown said she per­son­ally wiped off 1,843 of 2,176 names.

Mr. Haake said he “al­ways in­tended” to clean up Chester­field’s vot­ing lists, and said he would do so be­fore the end of Jan­uary — within the 90-day dead­line set by True the Vote.

Though the at­tor­ney gen­eral re­count likely will be fin­ished by then, le­gal wran­gling could pro­long the process.

“We are send­ing a mes­sage to all lo­cal elec­tion ad­min­is­tra­tors charged with record main­te­nance du­ties in Vir­ginia,” True the Vote Pres­i­dent Cather­ine En­gel­brecht said in a state­ment. “When an ad­min­is­tra­tor ad­mits his re­fusal to fol­low state and fed­eral laws, voter con­fi­dence and turnout are se­verely im­pacted. Voter rolls must be held above pol­i­tics.”

The Demo­cratic Party of Vir­ginia sued to block the state elec­tion board’s di­rec­tive to re­move in­el­i­gi­ble vot­ers, but a U.S. Dis­trict Court judge re­jected the claim.

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