Hell yes, it’s a hate crime. I can hardly think of anything quite as hateful as knocking someone out just for the fun of it. Can you?
No, it’s not a game; it’s a vicious crime that targets innocent people minding their own business when out of no where — BANG!
Yes, it does appear to be happening throughout the country. In New Jersey, Ralph Erick Santiago, 46, was walking near downtown Hoboken, when he was attacked. Three teenagers were stalking him. Their ambush was decidedly savage and deadly.
To stamp out these acts of pure cowardice, police need to focus not just on the attackers, but on the videographers as well. Recording, instead of preventing these knockdown attacks is tantamount to aiding and abetting.
Within seconds, the teens knocked Santiago to the ground with a blow to the back of the neck. It was so ferocious and so sudden, Santiago’s head wedged between two posts in an iron fence. With his neck broken, Santiago was dead.
In New York, a Syracuse man was knocked out and killed when he was assaulted by a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old. Police say the 13-year-old struck first, sucker punching 51-year-old Michael Daniels, but failing to knock him out. That’s when, according to police, the second boy finished the job with enough blows to the head to cause severe bleeding in the victim’s brain.
Despite the viciousness of their attack, the boys each received only 18 months in jail.
Similar cases have been reported in St. Louis, Missouri where police have set up a task force to target the young urbanites who are apparently responsible for the attacks. In Chicago, police acknowledge a string of attacks as well, which are sometimes referred to as “polar bear hunting.”
What is polar bear hunting? It’s described as an attack on a pre-selected white victim who is often elderly, which means it’s based on race — which means it fits squarely under the definition of a hate crime. (Forty-five states have statutes that criminalize bias-motivated violence and allow prosecution of a crime perpetrated against a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or disability).
Finally, after much haranguing from those of us who’ve seen this trend in the making, one jurisdiction is calling it like it is. Brooklyn police are charging a 28-year-old “knockout”/“polar bear” attacker with a hate crime. Police say Amrit Marajh targeted an orthodox Jewish man around 2:45 a.m. Friday. Marajh is charged with both assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
I say one down and one to go, because to stamp out these acts of pure cowardice, police need to focus not just on the attackers, but on the videographers as well. Recording, instead of preventing these knockdown attacks is tantamount to aiding and abetting. They are accomplices in what is a vicious and most dangerous “so-called” game. I say we turn their own videos against them, and charge them with what is clearly a crime of hate.