Hartley backs stiff ‘knockout game’ penalties

Joan Hartley

Joan Hartley

HARTFORD — State Sen. Joan Harley (D-15) has thrown her support behind a proposed bill that would toughen the penalty for anyone 16 years old or older who takes part in so-called “knockout games.”

“Knockout games” are an assault on an unsuspecting victim in which an assailant attempts to knock the person out with a single, surprise sucker punch.

A public hearing on the bill, Senate Bill 429, was held March 11 before the Public Safety Committee. The bill would create a two-year mandatory minimum sentence, and treat 16-year-olds as adults for the purposes of a trial.

 “We want to send a very strong message that these types of instances, which I believe are on the rise, cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Hartley, who is Senate chairwoman of the committee, in a press release. “There was a man on my own street who was recently attacked in such a manner; a 63-year-old who was the victim of a random attack, for no known reason, with no words exchanged, and his assailant fled immediately after hitting him once. It’s disgraceful. Physical assault is bad enough without making it into a game, so we are cracking down on these perpetrators.”

The bill is expected to be favorably approved by the committee by March 18.