New York Councilwoman Speaks Out on "Knockout" Game

Laurie Cumbo makes call to strengthen a Brooklyn community's relations.

Posted: 12/04/2013 12:50 PM EST
New York Councilwoman Speaks Out on "Knockout" Game

For the past few weeks, national attention has been brought to the "knockout" game, which is being reported as a new phenomenon committed by youth, who walk up to a defenseless person and attempt to knock them out with one hit.

In New York City, several "knockout game" incidents are being reported in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn as attacks against Orthodox Jews by young Blacks. Laurie Cumbo, a recently elected councilwoman who will take office in January, recently wrote a letter calling for "zero-tolerance" to the game and the strengthening of African-American, Caribbean and Jewish relationships in the community. 

Cumbo writes:

As an African American woman, this is challenging, because I recognize that it is Black children and not Jewish children that are playing the “Knock Out Game.” Why is this? In many ways governmental neglect, outside uncontrolled influences and failed leadership have led to the breakdown that so many young people of color are currently facing. I feel torn because I feel apart of the very system that has caused the destructive path that so many young people have decided to take while I am simultaneously demanding that they be arrested by that same system.

I am concerned that the media attention around the “Knock Out Game” is divisive and will erode the real progress that has been made over decades. The recent November 26th article published in The Jewish Week, paints African American teens in a dangerous light, and could cause the vast majority of innocent young people of color to be seen as criminals in the Crown Heights community as a result of the actions of a dangerous small minority. At the same time, there are some people in the African-American/Caribbean community who foster stereotypical views of Jewish people, which is why it is important that we create a more open dialogue.

Read the full letter here

Despite numerous warnings from the media about the game, some police officials around the country are calling it an urban myth and say that the violent incidents are random assault attacks and not an epidemic.

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(Photo: Laurie Cumbo via Facbook)

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