HARTFORD, Conn. – Legislation aimed at discouraging the “knockout game” cleared the Judiciary Committee on Monday over opposition from lawmakers who say the unprovoked attacks addressed in the bill are not a problem in Connecticut.
The bill, which passed 31-10, would apply in criminal cases where an attacker strikes someone in the head without provocation and with the intent of knocking them unconscious. The legislation makes that attack a Class D felony with a mandatory two-year sentence. It also requires juvenile courts to transfer 16- and 17-year-olds accused of the crime to the adult criminal justice system.
It’s an attempt to curb something often called the “knockout game,” or the practice of sucker punching a stranger for entertainment.
“Often this cowardly act is without warning and is unprovoked,” Rep. Joe Verrengia, a West Hartford Democrat who proposed the bill, said. “This language attempts to capture that sort of assault.”