Suspect In Midwood Knockout Game Says It Was Just Drunken Shenanigans, Not Charged With Hate Crime

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Source: ah zut/Flickr

The man believed to be behind the Friday morning attack of a Jewish man on the Midwood – Kensington border was not charged with a hate crime, despite calls from local elected officials who say that perpatrators of the so-called “knockout game” are specifically targeting Jewish victims.

The 2:00 a.m. attack on 18th Avenue and East 5th Street saw four men arrested, but Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office only filed charges against Amrit Marajh, who allegedly took the swing. He has been charged with misdemeanor assault, menacing and harassment charges, and has posted $750 bail. Police initially arrested him for a hate crime, a charge the district attorney did not press.

The assault is believed to be the latest incident of the violent “knockout game,” in which thugs take down unsuspecting passersby with a sucker punch before running off. The victim in this case was a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man.

Although it appears to be a national phenomenon, local leaders say the Brooklyn version has taken on an ugly racial edge, with the victims being Orthodox Jews living in Crown Heights, Midwood and Kensington.

CBS News reports:

One of the suspects, identified as Amrit Marajh, 28, was charged with aggravated assault as a hate crime, among other counts.

The other three suspects were released without charges.

… “I came across a group of people who were walking towards me, and I was able to hear them speaking loudly about this knockout game,” he said.

Kelly also told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin, “Just prior to it, (the assailants) were talking about the knockout game.”

The victim told investigators he heard one of the attackers say, “I’ll do it to this guy,” right before he was surrounded and punched, sources told CBS 2.

Marajh, through his lawyer, claims that the incident had nothing to do with the knockout game.

The Daily News reports:

Amrit Marajh, 28, had just left a bar on McDonald Ave. on Friday with four friends and was talking about boxing when the knockout game came up, police sources said.

“You can’t do that,” one member of the group said as they came upon Shmuel Perl, 24, according to a source.

Marajh allegedly said, “Yes I can, I’ll do it to this guy right now!” before punching Perl in the face, leaving him bruised.

Perl was not knocked out. According to news reports, all four appeared  intoxicated when they were arrested.

Authorities across the country have begun to question if the game even exists, or if the media is simply connecting a number of random acts that can occur on any given day.

The New York Times reports:

Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”

Still, a diverse set of local elected have come forward to denounce the attacks. As we’ve already reported, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch and Councilman David Greenfield have condemned the attacks, as has Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Later today, Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, and Borough President-elect Eric Adams will hold a press conference doing the same.

Reverend Al Sharpton is also urging his supporters to speak out against the attacks, and is organizing a media campaign.

“If someone was running around talking about knocking out blacks, we would not be silent,” Sharpton said, according to CBS. “We cannot be silent.”

Sharpton aims to kick off a celebrity-driven public service announcement campaign to denounce the attacks.

26 Comments

  1. Tara Dawn Chiusano on

    It became a reality when young people decided punching people in the head sounded like a good way to pass the time…

  2. Wasn’t it little adolph, josef, rudolph and hermann that claimed it was just “drunken shenanigans” after leaving the beer hall?

  3. Mayor Bloomie announced at a press conference today that he wants all New Yorkers armed with a 44 ounce bottle of Pepsi. With instructions to force the attackers to drink all of it, thus, due to the high sugar content they will be rendered helpless and will die before your punched in the head.

  4. What these perps fail to realize is that, to a prudent person, an unprovoked punch in the face might be perceived as an attempted robbery, which would justify the use of deadly physical force against even an unarmed assailant. Perhaps the next “drunken shenanigan” will leave the drunken shenanigator bleeding to death on the sidewalk.

  5. It’s never a hate crime if the suspect is black and victim is white, but always a hate crime when it’s the other way around. SMH

  6. He took awhile to say something because he had to decide how much media coverage he’d get denouncing an African-American. If I’m not mistaken he doesn’t hold press conferences when black-on-black crimes are committed.

  7. Mengele Maimonides on

    Why hasn’t he spoken, you ask? Why? Please allow me to tell you.

    Because he’s too busy with his latest outcry, together with Benjamin Foxman leader extordinaire of the Paranoia Parade.

    And what, pray tell, is it this time? Brace yourself now:

    THE PARADE GROUNDS ARCH & SIGNAGE ON PARKSIDE AVENUE, ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT’S REMINICIENT OF THE INFAMOUS AUCSHWITZ GATE, THEREBY MAKING IT DISRESPECTFUL & OFFENSIVE TO THEM & THEIR CONSTITUENTS!!!

    They are both more than beyond gone in the head already.

    Unbelievable.

  8. That was just a most recent event. Where is Assemblyman Dov Hikind on the shooting death of Kimani Gray (or Sean Bell, or Amadou Diallo)?

  9. Racial profiling in a department store = people getting knocked out by black gangs. It’s what they call the new math.

  10. What a society. Drunkenness is a defense for trying to bash someone’s brains out. One would think that’s an offense, not a defense.

  11. Why Assemblyman Dov Hikind has not yet spoken out about racial profiling at Barney’s or Macy’s? Why is he quiet for so long?

    EDIT: It’s about time that Assemblyman Hikind said something when his people are not the victims.

  12. Tara Dawn Chiusano on

    The only way to stop these crimes from occurring is to charge as a hate crime… stiffer sentences… I am VERY disappointed that the DA’s office decided to play this down… How can authorities question if the game exists? It is happening across the country with video proof… stop burying your heads in the sand and protect the people!!

  13. It’s about time that Sharpton said something when his people are not the victims. Why was he quiet for so long?