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Conn. Lawmaker Looks To Increase Penalties Against Teens Involved In ‘Knockout’ Attacks

State Rep. Joe Verrengia (D-West Hartford) (credit: housedems.ct.gov)

State Rep. Joe Verrengia (D-West Hartford) (credit: housedems.ct.gov)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Lawmakers in Connecticut are considering legislation to stiffen penalties against teens who carry out so-called “knockout” attacks.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, State Rep. Joe Verrengia is behind the effort to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in court for these dangerous street assaults.

Verrengia is also a West Hartford police sergeant, Schneidau reported.

“It’s bad enough being a victim of any violent crime, let alone come to find out to be a victim just because of a game,” he said. “I’ve been a police sergeant now for 25 years and I’ve seen a lot of different types of crimes and I’ve seen many types of victims but this is unique in itself because of its randomness and the fact that it’s totally unprovoked.”

The measure would make such attacks a felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Knockout attacks have been reported in a number of states. There was a rash of such attacks in New York City last year.

The goal of what’s described as a street game is to knock an unsuspecting stranger unconscious in a single blow. The attacks are often filmed and shown as entertainment, Schneidau reported.

A public hearing on the proposed measure was set for Tuesday.

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