After one murder and who knows how many beatings, city officials finally admitted the Knockout Game has come to Syracuse.

Absent one fact: The Knockout Game is part of an epidemic of black mob violence played hundreds of times across the country. It is documented in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.”

But the chief of police and the mayor could not bring themselves to say it. Talking with reporters Thursday night, they said the violence was a “random … teenage” thing.

One week after the fatal attack, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported some of the details: A 51-year-old ex-con was waiting at a bus stop, an unopened can of beer and the change from a $10 bill in his hand.

One person hit Michael Daniels, dropping him to his knees. They ran away, but seeing him helpless, the group returned. The police won’t say, but it could have been as many as five people. Or more.

That is when it got nasty: They punched and kicked him until one of his eyeballs came out of its socket. They laughed at that. He died the next day. There was no robbery.

Thursday, the police announced two arrests, and said they are investigating other recent cases of people playing the Knockout Game.

Readers of the Post-Standard were pressing for descriptions of the alleged criminals. Shortly after the killing, a police blog reported the suspects were black. Finally, after a week, the Post-Standard relented, if only to dismiss the idea that race had anything to do with anything: Joe Brown saw the attack from his nearby apartment window. “Brown was asked if he thought the youths were motivated by race. The attackers are black, police say; the victim was white.

“‘Black people are attacked in this neighborhood, too,’ Brown said.”

The paper wasted no time in trotting out a local trauma surgeon to call for more social programs. Dr. Fahd Ali “predicted the violence cannot be contained to certain neighborhoods, and that it will inevitably spread into ‘safe’ parts of the community unless there is an extensive commitment to profound and early intervention in the lives of troubled children.”

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