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.”