Don't Believe the Hype: There is No "Knockout" Trend, NYPD Says
NYPD: Videos of knockouts circulating online did not originate in New York.
On Wednesday, Ray Kelly told reporters the NYPD had assigned extra officers to Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood after at least seven attacks were reported, each fitting a similar profile. A single victim, targeted by a larger group, punched or smacked in the head. The victims who have reported the crimes are mostly white and Jewish. The suspects are all black teens.
Today, the NYPD is saying the media has manufactured a trend where there is none.
On Tuesday, the New York Post published an inflammatory editorial by Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at Stanford University's conservative think tank the Hoover Institution.
Sowell writes, "[A]uthorities in New York seem to have been caught by surprise, even though this knockout game has been played for years by young black gangs in other cities and other states, against people besides Jews -- the victims being either whites in general or people of Asian ancestry."
The problem, he concludes, is that the mainstream media has suppressed the story.
"Sometimes, the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified 'teens' or 'young people' against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims -- and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own 'achievement.'"
The same talking points were regurgitated verbatim on Hannity that day.
"The media is calling it a 'knockout game,'" Sgt. Brendan Ryan said Thursday. "They are assaults and not 'knockouts.'"
With the exception of this one, the videos of attacks being shown on the news did not take place in New York.
"We have not seen such a trend in New York City, but any assault or harassment complainant based upon the injury sustained to the victim will be investigated. Any bias overtones will be referred to our Hate Crimes Task Force for investigation," Ryan said.
The knockout game has been well-documented in other cities though, including St. Louis. The Voice's sister paper, the Riverfront Times published an award-winning investigation on the trend there back in 2011, "The Knockout King."
Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.