NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police have arrested four people in connection with an alleged “knockout game” assault in Brooklyn.
“Knockout” attacks are when mobs of young people randomly sucker-punch innocent people for fun.
Around 2:45 a.m. Friday, a 24-year-old Jewish man was surrounded by four men and punched in the face on 18th Avenue in Boro Park, sources told CBS 2.
The suspects fled, but were quickly apprehended and taken into police custody, sources said.
“I commend the excellent police work that we saw this morning,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind said in a statement. “I am grateful that these four thugs are off the streets and am hopeful that they will be treated with the severity of the law. I urge continuing diligence in dealing with this issue.”
There have been seven so-called “knockout” or “polar bear” assaults in the Crown Heights and Midwood sections of Brooklyn since October, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday. The alternate name “polar bearing” comes from the fact that the victims are white.
Police patrols have been stepped up in central Brooklyn in response to the incidents.
The attacks are being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Kelly said several victims have not reported the incidents because no robbery is involved.
“I would like to urge anyone who has been victimized by this to come forward and let us know,” said the police commissioner. “In order for us to respond, we have to have this information.”
On Thursday, a New York state legislator introduced a bill that would classify such attacks as a gang assault.
Under the bill, attackers could face up to 25 years in prison and young people could also be charged as adults.