City leaders speak out on so-called “knockout game”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A violent, seemingly random attack in Milwaukee this week is creating national interest and causing local politicians and law enforcement officials to speak out.

FOX6 News has received calls from national media outlets -- even one in Canada, wanting to know more about the victim of a crime so seemingly random and unprovoked no one can say they are safe from it happening to them.

This, after FOX6 News on Wednesday, December 4th shared the story of what happened to Tim Bessette. He told FOX6 News what he has gone through this week has been "a nightmare" and says he could have easily been killed.

“The knockout game” involves assailants attempting to “knock out” an unsuspecting victim — often with a single sucker punch.

Serious injuries and deaths have been attributed to this “game.” Some commentators in the United States have cast doubt that the knockout game is an actual trend and have termed it a myth or an example of moral panic. Others have focused on the perception that the game is racially motivated and have called for it to be labelled a hate crime.

53-year-old Tim Bessette was leaving the bus stop near Sherman and Burleigh on Monday evening, December 2nd.

“At that point, all I felt was pain and I went down,” Bessette said.

Bessette says he noticed four teens following him from the bus stop, and said he tried to cross the street.

He is now convinced that he is the most recent vicitm of a violent “game” documented in YouTube videos. Those who take part in this “game” often record the “knockout” and post it online.

“As these young fellows took off, I can remember hearing them laughing and giggling amongst themselves. You could kill somebody,” Bessette said.

Bessette says he gave Milwaukee police descriptions of the teen attackers, but hopes someone who knows them will turn them in.

“I understand that this game has been shown on YouTube by others and these adolescents will brag about their — what they’ve done. I’m hoping whoever they brag to goes to authorities,” Bessette said.

The attack on Bessette comes just days after Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke issued a warning about similar attacks across the country.

On Thursday, Sheriff Clarke reiterated his warning.

"This is sadistic behavior when you are going to inflict pain and suffering on a human being and watch them and get some kind of enjoyment out of that," Sheriff Clarke said.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen says the knockout game is being blown out of proportion.

"I think there needs to be a greater focus on what we are really doing to mentor young people," Bowen said.

Alderman Bob Donovan says Mayor Barrett needs to come down harder on this type of crime.

"I would have had a press conference with the (Police) Chief and District Attorney and in no uncertain terms would say we're coming after the people are responsible for this type of behavior," Alderman Donovan said.

Mayor Barrett had this to say:

"It is a rare incident. We take it very, very seriously and for everyone to say otherwise would be wrong," Mayor Barrett said.

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