The so-called "knockout game" has reached Santa Monica. And like this mostly made-up phenomenon of young minorities socking passersby for no particular reason, the West Coast expansion is a matter of myth, authorities say.
Santa Monica police tell us they believe security video of the alleged assault exists, and they're trying to get their hands on it as we speak.
Until then, this is what they say happened:
On Dec 11 a man walking toward the beach on the north side of the 300 block of Santa Monica Boulevard told cops he was confronted by a suspect who tried to start a fight with him, police said.
According to a Santa Monica police statement:
The victim, who was with a friend, told officers that he did not want to fight the subject, so he and his friend continued walking west on Santa Monica Boulevard. The subject followed them and "sucker punched" the victim from behind, knocking him to the ground. A witness told responding officers, the suspect walked across the street and stood there until the police started to arrive, at which time he fled. The victim sustained a one and a half inch laceration above his right eye and was treated, on-scene, by paramedics.
Cops were called to the scene about 10:15 p.m., they said. About 1:20 a.m. they found a suspect not too far away, at Wilshire Boulevard and Fourth Street, police said.
The guy had a warrant, they said, so he was arrested based on that much. Now police want to see if the victim can identify him. According to the statement the suspect ...
... made statements indicating that he may have been involved in the assault.
Here's the news, though: Santa Monica police want to dispel rumors that this had anything to do with the knockout game:
Information was released to the press indicating that this incident was the result of a type of an assault called, "The Knockout Game" in which unsuspecting victims are punched from behind, without provocation, in an attempt to knock them out. The police investigation revealed that this was not the case in this assault; in that words were exchanged by both parties prior to the attack.
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Cops also want to make it clear that they did not -- contrary to rumor -- standby without arresting a suspect who was nearby:
Police arrived on scene to find that the subject had already fled the area. Despite the fact that the assailant fled, officers continued to search for him and arrested a suspect 3 hours after the assault.
The suspect's name and booking photo were being withheld because he had yet to be identified by the victim, a police spokesman told us.