"Knock Out Game" in Salisbury? Police Chief says it's bogus, ask - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

"Knock Out Game" in Salisbury? Police Chief says it's bogus, asks writer to pull story

Posted: Updated:

When the story was first posted on the Rowan Free Press site, it immediately found an audience.

"Older people, young people, women and children, beware. There's a vicious game in Salisbury being perpetrated by young thugs called the "Knockout Game," the story stated.

"A victim, usually an older white person or someone of slight stature, is targeted by a small group of teenage boys and girls for a knockout or beat.  Always, the Knockout Game begins with a sucker punch and may end with stomping.  In other urban areas of the United States and the UK, a few people have died from severe brain traumas as the result of knockouts and follow-up stompings."

The troubling story then made the leap to social media where it spread quickly, with many people in Salisbury posting comments of shock, outrage, and fear.

"Here in Salisbury, NC, several older folks and teenagers have suffered from wolf pack attacks begun with a sucker punch," the article stated.  " Generally the Knockout Games occur after school hours along Ellis, Fulton, and South Main.  The Historic District has had several knockout attacks since the summer.  Older citizens are urged to travel in pairs and consider various forms of self-protection."

The only problem; according to Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins, it's totally false and there has never been a single reported case of the "Knock Out Game" being played in Salisbury.

WBTV has conducted its own investigation of police reports filed in Salisbury and did not find any incidents reported going back several months that could be considered to be part of this trend.

Troubled by the response and concern created by the article, Chief Collins began an investigation of his own that has now resulted in a letter sent to Rowan Free Press publisher Steve Mensing.

Here, unedited, is that letter:

Dear Mr. Mensing,

Upon becoming aware of the information you posted on the Rowan Free Press site, as well as the information which has been posted on Facebook regarding the topic of "The Knockout Game," I, as the Chief of Police for the City of Salisbury, North Carolina, became immediately concerned.  As the staff member specifically charged with the responsibility of leading our police department and striving to protect our community, I was unaware of any incidents having occurred, within the city limits of Salisbury, like those you've described.

After researching the investigative files within my department's database, as well as meeting with members of our Criminal Investigations Division, I was able to confirm that we had not been called upon to investigate any incidents like those described as being "The Knockout Game."  For this reason, I assigned the supervisor of my Criminal Investigations Division to visit with you on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.  The purpose of this visit was to attempt to learn from you the information process, and for which you have posted on the world wide web, concerning potentially felonious criminal activity that has allegedly occurred within our legal jurisdiction.  If, in fact, these incidents had indeed occurred, as posted, not only was an investigation appropriate, it was also crucial for the protection of our community.  During this visit, however, you were found to be unaware of any specific incidents that had occurred which would fit the description of "The Knockout Game."  You did tell the visiting supervisor of a situation, which had occurred during the past summer, in which you encountered a man who had been assaulted at the intersection of Fulton Street and Monroe Street.  This man, who reportedly did not know his assailants, did not want the police involved in this matter and my officers were not called.  In fact, we've been unaware of the incident until the discussion on December 3rd.

 Based upon the fact that our agency has not received any reports involving activity like those you're described within your posts, and considering the fact that no trend of this sort has actually occurred, as indicated within your posts, I am requesting that you post a retraction about such activity having occurred in Salisbury.  I am further requesting that you refrain from making posts regarding this matter in the future.  I make these requests for several reasons.  Though this activity has occurred within larger jurisdictions in the north, the fact remains that this activity has not occurred here, making the information inaccurate.  Also, the posting of this type of information can lead to the high possibility of individuals, who had never considered doing this before, deciding to give it a try.  It is a known fact that copycat incidents occur frequently after an incident becomes publicized, as your posts have.  Finally, I make these requests due to the fact that the publishing of such information causes significant undue fear within the citizens of our community, as well as those who have a desire to visit, or even perhaps move into our community.

Your cooperation and prompt attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated.


Rory B. Collins, Chief of Police 

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow