Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) on Monday joined other black leaders from Brooklyn, New York, to call for an end to the "knockout game," which involves attempts to knockout strangers on the street with a single punch.
Several incidents of the knockout game have been reported in Brooklyn, but also in Washington, D.C., Illinois and Missouri. Video and other reporting of these events indicate the "game" is played mostly by black teens, and many assaults have been against Jewish victims.
Both Jeffries and Clarke said Brooklyn would not tolerate these random acts of violence.
"The community we share in Brooklyn will not tolerate random acts of violence," said Clarke. "Attacks on any people in our community are an attack on our community as a whole. With the leadership of this community and the New York City Police Department, we will stop the violence that threatens our safety."
Jeffries's office said several victims have been assaulted by people playing the knockout game in Crown Heights, which has a significant Jewish population. One assailant, Amrit Marajh, has been charged with a hate crime, a response that other Brooklyn leaders welcomed.
"I'm here, standing with my colleagues in government, group of African-American and West Indian American leaders to reach out now, before it's too late, to any young person, who thinks, for one second, that it’s cool to sucker punch a totally unsuspecting, defenseless person for laughs or to gain some ridiculous measure of status," said Brooklyn District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson.
"This dangerous, despicable 'game' represents the worst kind of sick violence — and the perpetrators must be dealt with swiftly and harshly," said Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams. "Needless violence can never be tolerated; and violence in the name of hate and entertainment are the worst crimes that can be committed against citizens and society."
Over the weekend, Rev. Al Sharpton called the knockout game "insane thuggery."
"We would not be silent if it was the other way around," Sharpton said Saturday. "We cannot be silent or in any way reluctant to confront it when it is coming from our own community."