A Washington D.C. woman says a group of kids laughed at her when she was punched in the face as part of the knockout game.
The Daily Mail reported that Phoebe Connolly, a youth worker, was riding a bike in the Columbia Heights area of the city this month when one of the teenagers reached out and hit her in the face as she passed by.
The knockout game, also known as polar-bear hunting, involves randomly sucker punching or beating up strangers on the street with the goal of making the victim unconscious.
Although Connolly was not seriously injured, she says people should seriously think about how to stop such attacks.
“[Teenagers] just don't always think about the ramifications of their actions, how they can hurt people, how they can cause problems for the rest of their lives,” said Connolly.
She said it was because of the popular “knockout” videos that have since gone viral.
“Instead of constantly replaying them on media, or on YouTube, or whatever it is, you know I really feel like that's just creating more of a culture of fear and polarization - instead of actually spending time thinking about why it is that people are choosing to do this and how can it be stopped and prevented,” she told CNN.
Another woman was knocked out in the same area a day earlier, and she also sustained minor injuries, D.C. police said.
The two attacks are being investigated at simple assaults, according to a police spokeswoman.
On Nov. 9, a 78-year-old woman was sucker-punched in New York City when she was pushing her great-granddaughter’s stroller on Avenue L and East Fifth Street.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said they are investigating whether she is a victim of the “knockout game.”
A 72-year-old Russian woman was also reportedly attacked this week by a male in his late teens/early 20s. She was hit on the back of her head while walking to the Jewish community center around noon in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Another incident in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, involved 19-year-old photography intern, Israel Blizovsky, from Israel, who says he was punched in the face by a group of teens last week.
“They just kept walking,” he told the New York Post as someone translated for him in Hebrew. “They were all laughing.”
A man was arrested by NYPD on Friday and faces charges of assault as a hate rime after he punched a 24-year-old Orthodox Jewish man in the face in a similar attack.
Despite these cases, New York police say they haven’t seen evidence of a trend yet, but they are not removing the idea from consideration.