Multiple attacks on Jews in Brooklyn have led police to investigate whether they are part of an ongoing series of hate crimes—or whether they're just random attacks by teens playing a game called "knockout." Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters yesterday that there have been at least seven attacks on Jews in Crown Heights recently, including two misdemeanor assaults: “It is difficult to tell [if it is a pattern] at this time,” Kelly said, noting that the Hate Crimes Task Force was now investigating. “Obviously, some of it is based on descriptions. The crowds change in size, so it’s hard to tell if it is a clear pattern.”
The most recent attacked occurred around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday evening on Kingston Avenue near Crown Street. A 19-year-old Jewish man was crossing the street when he was punched in the face by a man in a group of about 10 black males, all in their late teens and early 20s. “He was actually holding an expensive camera. And they punched him and nothing was stolen,” Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, the executive director of the Jewish Future Alliance, told CBS. You can see video of that assault below, courtesy of Crown Heights.info. The punch can be seen in the video at the :13, :41 and :48 second marks.
Another attack occurred on Nov. 6 when about 15 teens approached a 12-year-old boy, punched him in the face, and shoved him onto the sidewalk. “The two attackers ran back to the group screaming, ‘We got him’” and received a roaring cheer,” Behrman told the Daily News.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the attacks aren't about stealing anything—they're just anti-Semitic. Behrman agrees: “And they’re playing a game: ‘knockout.’ ‘Knock out the Jew,’ maybe. And they’re going around the neighborhood punching Jews."
This "knockout" game—in which teens sucker punch strangers on the street—has apparently been growing in popularity over the last year, as you can see in the video below. But it's unclear whether the game specifically targets Jewish people; attacking people for fun has long been a popular pastime among our nation’s poorly supervised teens.