Whatever the term, Ralph Santiago is dead — one of three men who recently died or suffered permanent brain damage from what police call unprovoked assaults. But what others say are part of a nationwide pattern racial violence.
The rules of the Knockout Game — or the teenage prank — are same: Start with a group of black people. Find a white person. Punch him in the face. Don’t stop until the person is knocked out or your arms get tired. Or the person is dead.
Local media refuses to identify how widespread these attacks are. And how the perpetrators are mobs of black people. But the phenomenon is documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.
Here’s a link to the CBS news story. Sometimes it will not embed: Prosecutor: 3 Teens Charged In Beating Death Of Homeless Man In N.J. « CBS New York
The teenage prank on Santiago took place September 10, but the real damage was done in an identical attack 27 years ago. A group of black people stalked and beat Santiago near his Bronx home, leaving this father, gymnast and artist with brain damage; unable to do anything but wander the streets in a permanent fog.
Even so, the 46-year old Santiago was a happy man. A religious man. But when he was on the streets, a vulnerable man.
That is what three black people from Jersey City who arrived in Hoboken via the Light Rail discovered that afternoon. The CBS affiliate provides a few details:
“Santiago was followed by the three teens while walking on 3rd Street between Adams and Jefferson Streets in Hoboken on Sept. 10 when one of the juveniles threw a punch at Santiago’s head in what detectives believe was a game of “knockout.”
Santiago then collapsed onto the fence, wedging his neck between two iron fence posts, where he died, the prosecutor said.”
The alleged perpetrators turned themselves in when a video of them surfaced after the attack. They are in custody and charged with murder.
Ten days before that, Jesse Downs was heading to a convenience store near his home in the suburbs of Boston when he came upon a group of black people in the middle of the afternoon. Downs had left work early to get a head start on the Labor Day weekend. His girlfriend, Melissa Merrill, told the Eagle Tribune she just happened to be driving by when she saw Downs sitting on the curb, covered in blood.
“He kept asking me, ‘Why did they jump me?’” Merrill said of how Downs reacted immediately after the attack. “He still had his money and paycheck on him. They didn’t touch it.
“They attacked him right in broad daylight, in the middle of the sidewalk,” Merrill said. “They jumped him from behind and beat him in his head for no reason.”
WHDH reports the the suspects were “hitting (the victim) in the face and head.” And that one of the suspects “…slammed him on his head on the pavement.”
After three brain surgeries, Downs is still in the hospital, unresponsive. His survival is still in question. Two men have been charged with assault and witness intimidation.
Last weekend, in Syracuse, Jim Gifford was beginning his Saturday the way he started every day: He walked to the local 7-11 for a newspaper, donuts, coffee and a can of soup. At 6:08 a.m., the 70-year old Gifford was confronted by “five or six men” in their 20’s.
“Award winning columnist Sean Kirst” of the local paper reports: “Two of them began striking and kicking Gifford. The beating continued after he fell to the ground.”
Kirst quotes the local police as saying it “is too early to describe it as an example of the “knockout game,” a chilling national trend involving anonymous attacks.”
Earlier this week, police arrested Romeo Williams and charged him with assault. Williams had a pending felony weapons charge outstanding. According to Syracuse.com:
At a press conference before Williams’ arraignment, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said Williams celebrated inside the convenience store after he knocked Gifford unconscious. He continued beating the unconscious man after the brief celebration, according to police.
The papers presents lots of details save two: The assailants were black. No news about what, if any, charges the others at the attack will face.
Kirst did remind his readers that a similar attack took place in Syracuse last spring. Curiously, he reported that two people were arrested, though as many as a dozen black people were present at that attack where a 51-year old man died.