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Kay proposes “knockout” bill

Thursday, Jan 9, 2014

* This case ginned up a big uproar in the St. Louis area when the initial allegations surfaced in November

A 23-year-old Metro East college student said she was viciously punched in the face along a south St Louis sidewalk Monday.
Police say the woman was ambushed and deliberately knocked to the ground in what officers say may be a game called “Knockout.”

All the student knows is that it happened as she walked along Arsenal at Brannon early Monday morning, trying to get to a waiting vehicle. She and her boyfriend were giving a friend a ride from a local bar. […]

“I dropped immediately to the ground and screaming and crying and everybody just scattered, “she said.

She wondered if she was victim of the so-called “Knockout Game” – when a stranger attacks someone at random.

* The story had a racial component as well

She claimed she was walking through a large crowd around Arsenal at Brannon street when 3 black men punched her in the eye and knocked her out before the crowd scattered.

* But

The “knockout game,” in case your grandmother has not been emailing you repeatedly about it, is an alleged game teens are playing in which they attack random folks on the street and knock them out. The woman appeared on KMOV local news, describing the alleged attack and discussing how she had a double fracture of the bone under her eye and needed reconstructive surgery.

Now the woman has admitted it was all a lie. Ashley DePew, 23, was actually punched in the face by her boyfriend, Justin Simms, 25.

More

On Thursday, December 5, 2013, the couple admitted they made up the entire ‘knockout game’ story after St. Louis police “Had to spend a significant amount of resources unraveling the lies they told.”

Sheesh.

* A few days later, Metro East state Rep. Dwight Kay filed a bill to increase penalties for anyone 15 years or older involved in the so-called “Knockout Game.” From a press release

The Knockout Assault Prevention Act would increase the penalty for adults or minors committing battery in the form otherwise known as the ‘knockout game’. The penalty for committing such an act of violence would result in a Class 2 felony, a 3-7 year prison sentence. The new Act amends the Juvenile Court Act to provide that, if the juvenile court judge finds probable cause exists to believe that a minor age 15 and up committed such a crime, then the case shall be transferred to adult criminal court.

Rep. Kay added, “Knockout violence has become more prevalent over the past year. It is a serious threat to law abiding citizens when they shop, walk in a park or while just getting into their car. This sort of criminal behavior will not be tolerated in Illinois and I intend to do whatever is necessary to deter the knockout game.”

* But Rep. Kay’s local coppers say it isn’t a problem in their neck of the woods

The bill would increase the penalty for battery related to the knockout game to a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison. It also amends the Juvenile Court Act to require that if a minor aged 15 and up commits such a crime, he will be transferred to adult criminal court.

The latter gives St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson some pause.

“Moving it up to a Class 2 felony, I have no issue with that,” Watson said. “But I’m not sure about the juveniles… Moving 15-year-olds (into adult court), that’s something I think is quite an issue.”

However, Watson said he doesn’t think the knockout game is a significant problem in the metro-east. “We have not had any reports of that; that’s more of a city-type issue,” he said. “We live in the state of Illinois, where Chicago experiences things that we simply don’t experience in southern Illinois. Around here we haven’t had the issue, and I definitely believe this is a Chicago issue … but if they introduce it and it becomes a law, we can use it.”

Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz also said that he has not seen any cases of “knockout game” violence

* And is it really a “trend”? Doubtful at best

The new scare is the “knockout game,” in which black youths supposedly attack innocent people just for fun. Conservative pundits decry the MSM for suffering from political correctness and whitewashing crimes perpetrated by black people, but a more reasonable explanation for why most media outlets aren’t devoting round-the-clock coverage to the knockout game is that—sorry, Sean Hannity—there is no hard data showing that it’s a trend.

An important clarification: the game definitely exists, and has been around for at least a couple of years. I’m not claiming the game doesn’t exist. But the idea that it’s reached epidemic levels, or that it’s only being played by young black people, is a fallacy. As Alan Noble convincingly writes, “Analyzing data is not as simple as watching some YouTube videos and Googling ‘knockout game.’” And when it comes to the knockout game’s supposed popularity, the data is almost entirely anecdotal:

    Here’s the fascinating thing about this “spreading” trend: nobody seems to have any evidence that it’s spreading, or that it’s new, or that it’s racially motivated, or that black youths are the ones typically responsible, or that whites are typically targeted. This hasn’t stopped Mark Steyn, Thomas Sowell, and Matt Walsh from describing this specifically as a crime committed by blacks against whites, CNN from claiming that it is “spreading,” or Alec Torres at NRO from say it is “evidently increasing [in] popularity.” […]

Crime happens to every type of person, and is perpetrated by every type of person. What makes the false narrative of the knockout game—or any “black mob violence” story—crop up every year is the fact that some people will always believe the color of someone’s skin predisposes him to commit a crime. When a few YouTube videos are able to convince terrified white folks that young black people are dangerous, they may as well assume that all cats can play the keyboard.

* Ironically enough, Rep. Kay voted for a bill in April that raised the bar on charging juveniles with felonies

The new state law that classifies 17-year-olds charged with some felonies as juveniles rather than adults won’t have much effect on the Sangamon County justice system.

“Nothing has changed as far as the number of prosecutors and judges assigned to juvenile cases,” said Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser. “We may have some fewer cases in adult court, but the violent ones will still be adjudicated there.”

Gov. Pat Quinn in July signed legislation that raises the age of the state’s juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds charged with felonies. The reform is the second step in a process that began in 2010 when 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors were moved from adult to juvenile courts on the theory they will receive more rehabilitative services in the juvenile justice system.

The new law, effective Jan. 1, doesn’t change laws that automatically place youths age 15 or older who commit certain serious crimes in adult criminal court.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


19 Comments
  1. - concern1 - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Lock up for knockout and the more time the better and yes if a 15 yr old is doing it ..lock em up too!!!!!!


  2. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Seems to me a punch is the kisser is a punch in the kisser regardless of context more or less.


  3. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    I thought the knockout game did not exist? It like church burnings about 20 or so years ago, is an overhyped media sensation.


  4. - MrJM - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Aren’t there more important imaginary crimes for the legislature to address?

    – MrJM


  5. - yo - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    governing by drudge report


  6. - Leave a Light on George - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    =Aren’t there more important imaginary crimes for the legislature to address?=

    Not so imaginary. Not too long ago people playing this game killed a man in St. Louis.


  7. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Criminal Battery is already on the books.
    So is Mob Action (when applicable).
    Prosecutors can certain charge violators with these offenses. Do we need another law?


  8. - Thomas - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    - yo - nails it!

    This reminds me of another urban myth (or more appropriately, suburban myth) from a few years back. Remember the “lights out” game when gang members were supposedly driving around with their headlights off and would attack or shoot at any driver who flashed his headlights at them? Problem is, it never happened even once.

    Maybe Dwight can amend his legislation to crackdown on this imaginary problem too.


  9. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Maybe it’s time to start talking about charging these false reports of crimes as hate crimes when there’s a racial component to the false report.


  10. - Just Observing - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    === Criminal Battery is already on the books.
    So is Mob Action (when applicable).
    Prosecutors can certain charge violators with these offenses. Do we need another law? ===

    Agreed.


  11. - train111 - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    But wait, isn’t Kay a “small government” conservative?


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===Not too long ago people playing this game killed a man in St. Louis.===

    They don’t already have laws against murder in St. Louis?


  13. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    “I probably shouldn’t say anything…”


  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    If there was a real problem with the ‘knockout game’, then the ‘concealed carry’ game game would be a nice counter move…..enter Charles Bronson ……..


  15. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    This knock out thing has been debunked nationwide, like so many things before it. Governing by drudge report is right. There are some real problems that need addressed. Focus Rep. Kay…focus.


  16. - Highland, Il - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    The Dems are lucky that Kay was not elected as the House GOP Leader. This legislative agenda would have surely tore the gavel from Madigan’s hand.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    –governing by drudge report–

    There you go.


  18. - MoneyMoney - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 4:32 pm:

    Once again, Kay has a solution in search of a problem.


  19. - 4 percent - Thursday, Jan 9, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    As the gun advocates like Kay often say, we have enough laws on the books. Just enforce them!!


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