The legislation would have made it a felony—punishable by up to five years in prison—to assault a person “randomly without any prior physical or verbal contact in a public place.” Legal experts say that the bill’s use of the term “random” doesn’t make much sense.
The Connecticut state Legislature’s Judiciary Committee passed a bill last week that would ramp up penalties for people who commit assault as part of the so-called “knockout game.” Reports of black teens randomly punching bystanders and then uploading videos to YouTube sparked a media frenzy last year. After the hype died down, it became clear that there was little law enforcement data to suggest the knockout game is a trend among black teens—or anyone else—and plenty of critics have noted that the obsessive media coverage perpetuates racist tropes.
But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers in a number of states this year—including Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington—from trying to pass vague and confusing laws to ban the game (which is already illegal everywhere assault laws exist).
State Rep. Joe Verrengia, a West Hartford Democrat, says he introduced his Connecticut bill to send “a clear message to the thugs who commit this cowardly act.” His legislation makes it a felony—with a minimum two-year sentence—for intending to “cause serious physical injury to another person by rendering such other person unconscious,” doing so “without provocation,” and causing injury by “striking such other person in the head.” (A previous version of the bill said that the injury had to be caused by “a single punch or kick.”)
Read the full article at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/lawmakers-push-bills-end-knockout-game