By Jim Hagerty
A member of the Illinois House of Representatives says it’s time to stiffen penalties for those convicted of attacking random people as part of what has become known as the “knockout game.”
Illinois Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, has introduced the Knockout Prevention Act (House Bill 3783), which elevates standard battery penalties, making crimes associated with the violent game Class 2 felonies, punishable by three to seven years in prison.
Because the majority of knockout participants are teens, the bill allows courts to prosecute offenders 15 and older as adults.
The bill comes on the heels of dozens of recent reports of the knockout game being played in several American cities. Several of the assaults have been posted on YouTube and other video hosting sites.
The “game” is played when a participant chooses an unsuspecting victim and attempts to render the person unconscious with a single sucker punch to the head.
“This so-called game is not a game,” Rep. Kay told the Belleville News-Democrat. “It’s an act of violence and will not be tolerated in the state of Illinois.”
Knockout is commonly played in larger cities, but incidents have been reported in other areas. Police say the game has become popular because of exposure in the social media.
While incidents have been sporadic since the 1990s, a recent wave of knockout game violence has resulted in deaths in St. Louis, Syracuse, N. Y., Hoboken, N.J., and Chicago, where 62-year-old Delfino Mora was killed in 2012.
One of Mora’s assailants, Anthony Malcom, 19, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in September. The other two are awaiting trial. The attackers shared a video of the beating on Facebook, police said.
Thursday, Dec. 26, Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, made his first appearance in a Houston courtroom for allegedly breaking a 79-year-old man’s jaw in what prosecutors say was a “‘knockout game’-style attack” Nov. 24. Barnett was arrested after police obtained a mobile-phone video of the incident.
Potential victims are also taking notice — and measures to protect themselves — as in the case of Marvell Weaver, of Lansing, Mich. Weaver, 17, attempted to play knockout using a Taser in May, when his 28-year-old victim pulled a legally-concealed pistol and shot him in the buttocks.
According to police, Weaver had played the game successfully at least six times before being shot.
From the Jan. 1-6, 2014, issue