The so-called knockout game has plagued Brooklyn, N.Y., for the past couple of months, but the NYPD made a strong statement against the scourge when it recently arrested a man in connection with a string of assaults seeming to follow the nationwide trend of incidents where attackers sucker-punch random people on city streets.
Police arrested East New York, Brooklyn, resident Barry Baldwin in late December, initially linking him to at least seven unprovoked assaults on women in Brooklyn's Midwood and Canarsie neighborhoods between Nov. 9 and Dec. 24, police told the New York Post on Friday.
The alleged attacks by Baldwin, a 35-year-old black man, predominantly targeted Jewish women, which resulted in him initially being charged with six hate crimes stemming from six separate incidents, but court papers showed that he was instead arraigned last week on five assault charges, which prosecutors failed to classify as hate crimes for undisclosed reasons, reported the New York Daily News. In keeping with the "knockout game" trend, Baldwin did not attempt to rob or commit further crimes against his alleged assault victims, police said.
The arrest should help to assuage the fears of many Brooklyn residents, especially in the predominantly Jewish areas that have seen the majority of the borough's "knockout game"-style attacks.
“Everyone will sleep a little easier,” State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn told journalists for the Post, News and other outlets after Baldwin's arrest was announced.
All of the people Baldwin allegedly attacked were white women, and most of them were Jewish, including a 78-year-old woman the NYPD says he punched as she pushed her great-granddaughter in a stroller on Nov. 9 and a 72-year-old woman he allegedly punched from behind as she sat on a Canarise bench on Dec. 24.
Baldwin's arrest comes a little more than a month after the Nov. 23 arrest of Amrit Marajh, a black Brooklyn resident who was charged with assault as a hate crime after he allegedly attacked a Jewish man in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
The "knockout" attacks left many Brooklynites afraid to walk the streets, as New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield of Brooklyn explained last month.
“There’s a lot of concern there because there’s been a lot of documented ‘knockout’ attacks over in those communities, all of which were against Orthodox Jews,” Greenfield said. “It’s a crime of irrational violence, and that’s why it has engendered such fear … If you’re not a very big guy like me, you’re afraid of walking home, that at any point you could get knocked out.”