There have been several assaults on random New York citizens over the past few months. New York Post reported the continuous attacks that either succeeded or failed had targeted residents from children to seniors of both genders.
One assault happened as two companions walked past the subway station exit on Central Park West and 87th Street. A man dressed in black came out of the subway attempted to sucker-punch the girl. It was a failed attack, as her boyfriend chased the suspect off, reports The Post.
Following the incident, the Upper West Side Together Facebook group posted an alarm poster about it, telling its members to stay high alert.
“My friend was screaming, ran to a building on CPW (Central Park West) where doorman called police,” the would-be victim’s boyfriend said in the poster.
Another man from Upper West Side replied to the post, claiming he was also targeted, and the attack gave him two black eyes. “This is happening all over. I was sucker-punched by a disturbed man in Chelsea,” the man said.
On April 12, a 67-year-old man was waiting for a Manhattan-bound seven train at the Court Square station roughly before 10 a.m.; he was approached by a stranger who suddenly punched him in the face, police reported.
Some theories try to explain the suspect’s motive, one of which suggests that these incidents indicate the return of a disturbing game called the knockout game, which has terrorized New Yorkers several years ago. Also, others believe it is the consequence of the recent police-denouncing campaigns.
“These incidents aren’t happening in front of officers. They are happening due to opportunists taking advantage of the anti-police, anti-accountability era,” said NYPD Sgt. Joseph Imperatrice, the founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC and a 15-year-veteran, quoted by The Post.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, also alerted that kids and elders are no secure from being sucker-punched.
In January, the media acknowledged that a 74-year-old Catholic deacon, Frederick Kurr, fell victim to a random subway assault at the Kingsbridge Road D train station. Police were able to extract footage of the incident. Allegedly, the attacker told the deacon, “Don’t shout. I just felt like punching someone,” before punching him.
Jose Gonzalez, a 48-year-old homeless man who has been arrested six times for punching random victims, was arrested on Jan. 26 for the assault, according to the NYPD.
On January 20, a 47-year-old man had his jaw broken as he became another random sucker-punch target in the Bronx. The attack was also caught on tape by a surveillance camera, which the reason seemed like it was issued from a “possible knockout game,” according to police.
In early April, a 75-year-old woman, identified as Judith Thomas, was punched in the face by a stranger as she was walking on a Harlem sidewalk. Surveillance footage reviewed the suspect was wearing a jean jacket as he approached her.
The recent violence that has New York residents fall victim to, according to Imperatrice, suggests that it might not be a good time for having a stroll in the city. “The combination of criminals and mentally ill individuals roaming the streets equals disaster waiting to happen.”
“The city needs to get back to old-school policing … high visibility foot posts and patrol,” he continued.
“There’s a lot more crazy out there. A lot of people unhinged. What we can do is to be more aware. To be more alert,” said Tsahi Shemesh, a former Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper who runs Krav Maga Experts NYC.
“People are feeling unsafe, a lot of people are avoiding public transportation, avoiding the subways. It’s pretty clear that the city has changed its face,” Shemesh added.