DeAndre Felton and his crew had a problem: The mall was closed. The curfew in effect. But they were still high on drugs and wanted to have more fun. So they decided to beat someone up.
Turns out they chose The Wrong Guy.
They had just come from a local park where DeAndre and 15 others beat up two girls, sending one to the hospital with a broken arm.
So DeAndre came up with an increasingly popular idea: In St. Louis they call it the Knockout Game. In Illinois, Polar Bear Hunting.
Regardless of what DeAndre in Meriden, Conn., called it, the rules are the same all over: Find a person who looks defenseless. Then punch him. Or kick him until you get tired or he is knocked out. Or worse. Game over.
DeAndre was part of a pattern of hundreds of examples of black mob violence documented in more than 80 cities revealed in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”
DeAndre knew The Knockout Game was usually pretty safe. For the attacker, that is. In Meriden, victims aren’t likely to carry concealed weapons. Nor do they fight back: As one player said in Philadelphia as his victim begged for mercy: “It’s not our fault you can’t fight.”
See the Big List of black mob violence.
So when DeAndre and his gang of eight to 10 left the parking lot in a Meriden mall just a few weeks ago – soon after the park beat-down – he was confident little could go wrong when he told his friends he wanted to “beat someone up.”
They found their victim a few minutes later. Soon DeAndre and his confederate, Deshaun Jones, were peeling off from the group, heading for a guy walking home from work. Alone.
We don’t know his name or race or much else about him other than this: He was The Wrong Guy.
With their friends lurking less than 100 yards away, DeAndre and Deshaun attacked The Wrong Guy. Then came the surprise: The Wrong Guy fought back. He pulled a knife. Soon DeAndre was dead, and Deshaun was on his way to the emergency room.
It took the police a few days to piece it together. And while they did, Facebook pages, Twitter streams and a televised candlelight vigil were full of praise and happy memories for the fallen DeAndre. Full of promises to catch the person responsible. Full of rumors about what happened – including some who thought DeAndre could be the next Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watch commander.
Two weeks after the killing, police released the results of their investigation. They said they delayed release of the findings out of respect for the family of DeAndre and on the advice of community leaders. Curiously, the police report did not mention the earlier mob attack involving DeAndre. Nor did the police mention what, if anything, they did out of respect for the two female victims of the earlier assault.
But the report left little doubt about what happened that night.
They talked to other members of Andre’s mob, plus a dozen more people, and they all said the same thing: DeAndre and Deshaun attacked The Wrong Guy, who then stabbed them in self-defense.
The families didn’t want to hear that explanation.
Deshaun’s mother said the police had it wrong: The Wrong Guy was the real attacker.
“This is a monster, this is a monster after children,” Alexis Jones said. “This man is still on the streets, and my son is sitting home trying to recover. My son has two stab wounds in his back, one on his side, and he has a slice on his neck.”
DeAndre’s mother joined in.
“I just don’t believe it. My son was not raised to be a troublemaker,” said Valda Felton. “I don’t want them or anyone else to make my child out to be a villain.”
Family friend and minister Rev. Dante Moss, who officiated at DeAndre’s funeral, held a press conference and called the police findings a “comic book.” Moss compared DeAndre to Trayvon.
The minister and the family said the police had it wrong: The Wrong Guy attacked DeAndre and DeShaun, not the other way around.
Police say not one of the people present corroborated Moss’ claim. But Moss just kept on keeping on.
He posted the following almost a dozen times on DeAndre’s Facebook page, now a memorial site: “The Funeral is over but Deandre is still screaming for Justice! Get Ready to Rock The Earth! Don’t let him Die Twice!!!! Stand Ready to Rock the Earth!”
Posters to local news sites pitched in, including his aunt.
“Deandre was trying to help his friend after he got stabbed,” said Talitha Frazier “Then deandre got stabbed in his back. I have one question? In the state of Ct. at what point are you allowed to take someones life. Some one please answer that for me. I am his aunt.”
Katie Lynn posted this after the funeral: “deandre lost his life..sticking up for his friend. he’s a hero. people just need to stop pointing fingers and realize the grief that family is going through.”
Lots of people joined with Moss to say they had no faith in the police investigation. And they believed the crime against DeAndre and Deshaun was racially motivated.
“Why should another one of Gods black angels die without no type of justice again from the meriden police dept,” Edwina Lebby posted on Facebook. “If it were a white kid justice would of been served!!!!”
“He was stabbed last night on kensington ave by a coward who didn’t stop to think that this was someone’s baby ughhh,” said Annette Rosado “God i hope they catch this person:(”
Celines Matias Rodriguez said: “justice for deandre!! And for his friend who was stabbed while he was turned away!!!! An arrest needs to be made!!!! An adult using a knife on small children needs to be punished!!!! I pray to God that charges are brought about soon….”
“Where’s the video? Show it to us,” said another Facebook poster. “Hmmmm. I want to know why they had to go find this guy 22 hours later if he was attacked. I want to know. Doesn’t sound right to me at all. He’s so innocent? Really? Then why did he run and hide? Just someone answer that.”
But catching The Wrong Guy was not a problem. Hospital video and witness accounts led the police to his door less than one day after the attack. He handed over the knife and expressed surprise one of his attackers died. His name was not released.
Others in Meriden point to several other examples of black mob violence say this was not an isolated incident. Said MeridenMom: “Where was justice when my 40 year old brother was innocently ‘jumped’ last summer by a group of teens/young boys and when the neighborhood churchman was ‘jumped’ this past summer walking home from a nightly service by a group of boys. My kids knew and went to school wit[h] both teens and knew exactly what happened before news reported it. Kids was high looking for trouble and jumped somebody.”
Despite the best efforts of Moss to the contrary, the earth did not rock.
No charges have been filed in the stabbing or the assault. DeAndre was 15 years old. DeShaun is 13.
Four days later and 1,300 miles away in St. Cloud, Jesse Smithers was getting ready for another round of the Knockout Game.
Smithers was riding with a car-full of friends when he spotted The Right Guy: a 20-year old student named Colton Greaser.
Smithers told the driver to stop the car. He got out and punched Greaser in the face.
They did not have to worry about Greaser carrying weapons. That’s not what college students do in Minnesota. Soon Smithers was back in the car, bragging about his knockout punch.
Greaser died that night. And Smithers was charged with murder soon after. None of the friends was charged. Though a judge did have to issue a no-contact order because many of the witnesses were being threatened – another tradition of the Knockout Game.
Exactly why the second amendment needs to be protected.
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