Legislators: ‘Knockout game’ is real in New Jersey
Police in Hackensack are still hunting for the suspect who punched three men in the face within 15 minutes Monday night. Several Garden State lawmakers said the incident is proof that the so-called "knockout game" is not an urban legend and there is legislation aimed at cracking down on those who participate.
"Is the knockout game real? Absolutely, it does exist," said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit). "There's a saying that says if it happens to you it is 100 percent true. It shouldn't happen to anyone. It's not a funny game. It's not a game at all."
Because no one has videotaped the punches in order to post them on social media, authorities in Hackensack said they don't belive the incidents in their city were part of a knockout game scenario.
Under a measure co-sponsored by Munoz, a person convicted of taking part in a knockout game would be guilty of a third-degree aggravated assault offense must serve a minimum prison term of one-third to one-half of the three-to-five-year sentence and would not be eligible for parole.
"The bill defines specifically what the knockout game assault is: a single blow to the head with the purpose of causing a loss of consciousness," Munoz explained.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Cream Ridge). A similar bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Assembly members Joe Cryan (D-Union) and Gordon Johnson (D-Teaneck).
"We need to send the message that we're going to take this crime seriously. You're not going to just get away with it as a game to be played to put up on social networking sites," Munoz said. "We're trying to get out ahead of this in New Jersey so that it doesn't become a trend."