The latest victim of the ubiquitous “knockout game” is a disabled Army veteran who was attacked in downtown Cleveland on him on Feb. 7, 2014. While neither CBS News nor local station WOIO identifies the race of the perpetrators, both news outlets include the victim’s account of verbal taunts against him, which suggest the attackers were black. Baby steps.
The target of the pointless attack was Matthew Robinson, who told a WOIO reporter that he was initially surrounded by six to eight teenagers while riding a bus. The pack followed and attacked him, took his belongings, and videotaped the assault. During the attack, Robinson maintains:
“What they were saying was, ‘Knock that boy out!’ ‘White boy.’ ‘Cracker.’ They were saying, ‘Knock that white boy out.'”
Cleveland Police acted quickly and managed to nab three of the teens as they ran from the scene. The suspects in police custody are Kenneth Matthews, 18, Ronald Reid Williams, 19 and an unnamed 16-year-old female. The girl was the “videographer,” having captured the assault on her cell phone, which was still in her possession at the time of the arrest.
Cleveland’s Public Square, the scene of the attack, has witnessed violence before. Last month a teen there was brutally beaten. At times, WOIO reports, “the power of a massive police presence was needed to take back the square.”
Robinson wants his story to be a warning to everyone living, or venturing into Cleveland’s downtown area, noting, “Your mother or sister could be on the bus, and the same thing could happen to them.”
The media’s handling of this report could mark the beginning of a sea change in coverage of these attacks, which has historically omitted the race of the assailants. In an incident last November in which a group of marauding teens on skateboards savagely brutalized a New York City merchant, CBS New York seemed to take great care in its report to avoid mentioning that the teens were black.
There has also been significant denial up till now that these assaults are part of a pattern of black teen violence. As Renee Nal wrote in December, New York Police saw no evidence of a trend following the commission of nine knockout attacks over a two-month span, all perpetrated by black teens.
- ‘Hundreds of teens’ force Florida State Fair to close its gates early
- Group of black teens brutally beats store owner with skateboards: MSM omits race in its coverage
- U. of Minnesota Black Student Union: Stop mentioning race in crime alerts
- U. of Michigan Black Student Union threatens ‘physical action’ if demands not met
- 18-year-old who delivered deadly ‘knockout’ punch sentenced to 10 years
- New Orleans jazz musician in coma after suspected ‘knockout’ attack
- Dallas: Another elderly ‘knockout’ victim
- NY teen arrested in connection with upstate ‘knockout’ attack on elderly woman
- AARP: Knockout game victims are often ‘people of color’
- Brooklyn: Nine knockout game attacks since October: Police ‘see no evidence of a trend’
- The ‘Knockout game’ is the tip of the iceberg