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A Timeline for the Knockout Game

By Alexander Baron     Feb 4, 2014 in Crime
The Knockout Game may have been in the news last year, but it is not a new phenomenon. Its roots go back to the so-called happy slapping craze.
Undoubtedly, social scientists will in due course trace it back further, if they haven't already. Gratuitous violence against total strangers did not originate in either the 21st or the 20th Century. Although the current sickening trend appears to be of both black and American origin, like many other memes it has outgrown both its originators and its geographical location.
The knockout game, or simply knockout, is also known by (apparently local) variants including polar bear hunting. Some have suggested it is a myth, or more reservedly that there has been no appreciable increase in the kind of mindless violence that we have seen for decades. While it is true that the mainstream media can and does report not only violence but other crimes and non-crimes selectively, and that because of this and other factors, an erroneous impression can be given, this does not seem to be the case here.
At least one academic has blamed the spread of this wanton violence on what he calls the Miley Cyrus Effect.
More disturbing by far than any racial aspects of this phenonemon is the targeting of elderly people, including women. One can imagine an off-the-rails teenager taking a mischievous delight in punching out a big man after catching him unawares, but who would attack a 76-year-old woman for the "fun" of it?
The following chronology, which is far from comprehensive, has been compiled from sundry news reports and websites.
September 18, 1992: MIT undergraduate Yngve Raustein is attacked by three teenagers at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Although Raustein and his male companion — a fellow Norwegian student — were robbed, the former being stabbed to death, robbery does not appear to have been the sole or even the principal motive for the attack.
September 23, 1992: The Nashua Telegraph newspaper reports that the alleged attackers have been charged in connection with the murder of Yngve Raustein. They are named as Joseph Donovan aged 17; Alfredo Velez aged 18; and Shon McHugh aged 15. They were said to have been playing a game called knockout. Velez is Hispanic; the other two are white.
October 7, 1993: Shon McHugh, now 16, is convicted of the felony murder of Yngve Raustein. In due course, McHugh — the one who actually stabbed Mr Raustein — will be released, as will Valez. Donovan is still in prison.
Late 2004/early 2005: Happy slapping originates, apparently in the London Borough of Lewisham.
August 24, 2009: At Decatur, a man aged 46 and another aged 61, are beaten severely for no apparent reason.
September 3, 2009: Branden J. White is arrested in connection with the August 24 Decatur attacks.
September 5, 2009: Jerry Newingham, the older of the August 24 attack victims, dies.
November 24, 2009: The Denver Post newspaper reports that as many as 26 victims — mostly men but a few women — have been attacked by roving gangs. No fewer than 35 arrests had been made at that time.
October 29 2010: At New London, Connecticut, Matthew Chew leaves the Two Wives Brick Oven Pizza where he works to walk home. He is targeted by six attackers who stab him to death.
April 5, 2011: One of the killers of Jerry Newingham is sentenced. Branden J. White, who is said to be 17, pleads guilty to first degree murder and is sentenced to 20 years. He will not be eligible for release until 2029. At this time, five others are facing charges in connection with the same crime. All his attackers are reported to be black.
April 16, 2011: Retired Vietnamese schoolteacher Hoang Nguyen, a man of 72, is punched and killed by Elex "Knockout King" Murphy at St Louis.
October 21, 2011: St Louis resident Matt Quain, over 50 years old, is hospitalised with serious facial injuries after being attacked on his way home. He has little recollection of the attack.
January 13, 2012: St Louis media reports the case against the youths accused of attacking Matt Quain is dropped when a teenage witness fails to turn up at court. Police Chief Dan Isom says his department will look into a possible case of witness tampering.
July 10, 2012: At Chicago, Delfino Mora, a disabled man of 62, is savagely beaten in a game of "Pick 'Em Out and Knock 'Em Dead" or "Point and Punch." He dies the following day. One of the teenage perpetrators posts a video of the beating on his Facebook page.
Oct. 10, 2012: James Addlespurger is punched in the face. The vicious attack, at Pittsburgh, is caught on CCTV.
November 13, 2012: Thug Michael Ayoade attacks teenager Tasneem Kabir in East London, England, knocking her out with one punch. Although the CCTV of this assault appears in a number of reports on the knockout game, Ayoade was not "playing" this. He appears to have become paranoid after excessive use of illicit drugs and attacked a stranger for no reason.
February 15, 2013: Demetrius Murphy, aged 15, is shot dead by a householder during an attempted burglary. It is shortly revealed that he was a member of the gang that attacked Matt Quain on October 21, 2011 (see above).
February 25, 2013: The BBC reports that Michael Ayoade has been given a four-year sentence for the assault on Tasneem Kabir.
A CCTV still of a thug who assaulted a schoolgirl in Plaistow  East London  for no apparent reason. ...
A CCTV still of a thug who assaulted a schoolgirl in Plaistow, East London, for no apparent reason. He was later identified as Nigerian immigrant Michael Ayoade. He pleaded guilty.
Metropolitan Police
February 26, 2013: Teenager Marvell Weaver decides to play the knockout game but chooses the wrong victim. Using a stun gun rather than his fist, the gun jams, and the victim shoots him as he runs off.
March 15, 2013: The last defendant in the October 2010 murder of Matthew Chew is sentenced. Marquis Singleton, now aged 19, is given eight years behind bars.
April 10, 2013: Elex Murphy is convicted of the second degree murder of Hoang Nguyen. Murphy, who was 18 at the time of the crime, is given a heavy deterrent sentence.
May 23, 2013: At Syracuse, New York, Michael Daniels, aged 51, is beaten to death by a gang. The following July, a medical examiner tells a court that he was probably killed by one punch.
June 14, 2013: In Bolton, Lancashire, Simon Mitchell, a man of 43, is punched in the face; he falls over backwards, hits his head, and dies.
August 21, 2013: At Spokane, Washington, a veteran of the Battle of Okinawa is beaten by two teenagers and left for dead. Delbert Belton was 88 years old.
August 21, 2013: Family Court Judge Michael Hanuszczak sentences an unnamed 16-year-old to 18 months confinement for the second degree manslaughter of Michael Daniels in May.
August 22, 2013: Delbert Belton dies of his injuries.
August 29, 2013: Delbert Belton is buried with full military honours.
September 7, 2013: A candlelight vigil is held at Decatur, Georgia for Jerry Newingham who was attacked August 24, 2009 and died September 5 the same year.
September 12, 2013: Anthony Malcolm is given a 30 year sentence for his role in the July 2012 murder of Delfino Mora.
September 13, 2013: Teenagers Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard plead not guilty to the murder of Delbert Belton.
September 21, 2013: At Syracuse, New York, a man of 70 is attacked. James Gifford is said to have been set on by five or six males.
September 23, 2013: Police announce the arrest of Romeo Williams for the attack on James Gifford. Wiliams is said to have been arrested no less than 14 times in his 18 years.
November 14, 2013: A woman is assaulted in Washington DC by a group of teenagers.
November 15, 2013: Cyclist Phoebe Connolly is attacked in Washington DC.
November 20, 2013: Marvell Weaver is sentenced to a year behind bars.
November 21, 2013: Teenager Eden Lomax is convicted of the June 14, 2013 murder of Simon Mitchell.
Eden Lomax  who killed a man with one punch.
Eden Lomax, who killed a man with one punch.
Greater Manchester Police
November 21, 2013: Assemblyman James Tedisco introduces the Knockout Assault Deterrent Act in New York.
November 22, 2013: The New York Times publishes ‘Knockout Game’ a Spreading Menace or a Myth - note the lack of a question mark.
November 22, 2013: Fox News reports the arrest of four men after an attack on an Orthodox Jew in Crown Heights, New York.
November 24, 2013: An elderly black man is attacked at Houston. A young white man is arrested and charged with the assault which was apparently some sort of bizarre payback for black-on-white attacks.
November 25, 2013: It is revealed that Senator Hugh Farley has joined James Tedisco to sponsor a legal antidote for the knockout game.
November 29, 2013: A woman of 76 is punched and knocked to the ground in Brooklyn, New York. The attack happened around 11.30 in the morning.
December 4, 2013: In New York, activists including Al Sharpton launch a social media campaign against the knockout game.
December 9, 2013: Eden Lomax is sentenced at Manchester Crown Court for the murder of Simon Mitchell.
December 30, 2013: Barry Baldwin, aged 35, is arraigned at New York for attacks on 5 Jewish women.
January 1, 2014: A man of 73 is attacked and severely beaten in Chesterfield County. Although Earl Spencer was robbed, the degree of violence used suggests material gain was not the only motive.
January 8, 2014: Devin Alexander aged 16 is arrested at Rochester, New York after apparently filming himself slapping an elderly woman around the head with a snow ball.
January 21, 2014: Double bass player Doug Potter is attacked and badly beaten by two men in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
February 1, 2014: A report from San Antonio lists the latest victim as Cody Robinson, a man of 30, who was attacked in the small hours.
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