By Dan Wing and Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Michael Nutter was joined by other city leaders Monday evening in an attempt to stop the so-called “Knockout Game” from spreading to Philadelphia.
Nutter was joined by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, as they discussed the so-called game in which a person is randomly assaulted, while another person films it with their phone or other device.
With cases reported in other U.S. cities, including New York, Mayor Nutter says the city is working to stay ahead of the problem, but needs parents to do their part.
“This is not a game. You can seriously injure or possibly kill someone. Your child’s life will be dramatically changed, and probably yours as well as a parent. So let’s cut out the nonsense. There are many other things that people can do to enjoy themselves. This is not one of them,” Nutter said.
The Mayor says that anyone caught taking part in the “knockout” game will face charges ranging from aggravated assault up to third degree murder, but that’s not all.
“You’re also hurting another human being for no reason at all. There’s no excuse for this kind of behavior, it will not be tolerated here in the city. We will do everything we can to both prevent, but if someone does engage, we will catch you. You’ll be prosecuted, and your life will be changed dramatically,” he said.
The Mayor says that the District Attorney’s office supports the effort to prevent this game from becoming a common occurrence in the city, saying they will seek the most serious of charges and prosecute to the fullest.
Nutter urged parents to discuss the dangers and lasting effect the game can have, citing those type of discussions as a major factor in the reduction of flash mobs that became a problem in years past.
“Pay attention to what they’re doing, who they’re hanging with. Don’t get caught up in this group thing. That’s what happened with those flash mobs,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
Last Friday, Philadelphia Police announced the arrest of a 15-year-old in connection with a “knockout” attack in Northeast Philadelphia earlier this month (See Related Story).
Investigators say a 15-year-old male has been arrested and they are searching for a second suspect for their roles in an attack outside a pizza shop in Fox Chase on November 11th.
The victim in the November 11th assault told Eyewitness News that he was walking out of a pizza shop when he was attacked.
“Someone asked me for a cigarette and by the time I got my hands out my pocket, I was getting hit by four kids,” Mark Cumberland explained.
Cumberland said he is still having difficulty seeing and has trouble breathing and swallowing.
“There’s no reason at all. I mean, I didn’t get robbed, they didn’t take nothing from me. They just beat me up.”
The 15-year-old has been charged with Aggravated Assault, Criminal Conspiracy and related charges. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.
The suspects behind the “knockout” game have one goal in mind: knock out the victim with one punch. The victim is almost always chosen at random, an individual simply walking down the street.
Videos from cities around the country show people being punched and beaten at random.
Lower Merion Police say suspects Samuel Hayles and Markus January were arrested on October 29th, just moments after they allegedly ambushed and beat a 63-year-old man who was walking his dog. (See Related Story)
In another case in Lower Merion, an elderly man was also attacked when he was mowing his lawn outside of his home. The suspect in that attack is still on the loose.
Bruce Myer, a neighbor of the elderly victim, says, “A kid came up to him and just punching him in the mouth. He ended up lying in the street with his lawnmower.”
Myer says, “The kid did it on a dare. He said give me five dollars and I’ll knock that guy out.”
The elderly victim is now using a cane and a walker to get around. He has had to undergo multiple medical procedures.