An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is the latest victim in a series of unprovoked assaults in Brooklyn, and the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is involved in the investigation. Eli Leidner, 26, was sucker-punched last night around 10:40 in Williamsburg, as he walked on Bedford Avenue between Taylor and Clymer Street. He says two people ran up behind him, punched him in the face, laughed and ran away. He was not robbed. Here's an interview with Leidner after the assault:

"I believe it's a knockout," Leidner said, referring to the alleged series of attacks in which pedestrians are sucker-punched as part of a street game to crown a "knockout king." The NYPD press office would not elaborate on this incident, which comes two days after a 76-year-old woman was punched her in the back of the head in East New York. Hours before the victim, Yvonne Small, was attacked, members of the Rev. Al Sharpton group National Action Network rallied in East New York against the 'knockout' game.

NYPD officials and other law enforcement sources have been reluctant to say that the knockout game is in fact a phenomenon. "If there ever was an urban myth, this was it," one Jersey City police spokesman told the Times.

In an interview with Jewish News Report last week, NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind countered, "Tell that to the victims. Those calling it a myth should do what I did and actually visit Galina, the 78-year-old grandmother in Midwood [Brooklyn] who was never afraid to walk the streets before. Then one sunny Saturday afternoon, while walking past the park in broad daylight, she was accosted by a young person who used his fist to smash her in the side of her head."

[UPDATE] Councilmember David G. Greenfield, who represents parts of Brooklyn, issued this statement: "I am disgusted to hear about two more sickening knockout attacks on innocent New Yorkers this weekend. These latest assaults have reaffirmed that this clearly is part of a disturbing trend targeting elderly and Jewish residents. We cannot tolerate a climate in which law-abiding citizens are afraid to walk down the street out of fear that they will be the next victim of these cowardly thugs. That's why I am calling on the NYPD to provide all the resources necessary to stop this growing trend and on the district attorney to prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law."