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The Latest "Knockout Game" Claim Was a Lie, But the Truth is Way More Depressing

Categories: Crime

depewface.jpeg
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Ashley DePew says her face was fractured in two places.
In a depressing-yet-predictable twist, the 23-year-old woman whose battered face went viral in "knockout game" hysteria last month was actually hit by her boyfriend, not randomly attacked by a stranger, police say.

St. Louis police charged 25-year-old Justin Simms, of Arnold, and his girlfriend Ashley DePew, 23, with filing false police reports after the pair insisted DePew was suckerpunched by a random thug outside the Trophy Room bar in south city.

DePew told police and KMOV-TV (Channel 4) that she may have been the victim of the violent phenomenon turned national mania known as the "knockout game," where groups, especially of teenagers, viciously attack random victims.

See also: Knockout King: Kids call it a game. Academics call it a bogus trend. Cops call it murder.

Chief Sam Dotson tells reporters he was frustrated to see the lie go viral even as police told reporters early on that DePew's story was inconsistent.

"We had to spend a significant amount of resources unraveling the lies they told," Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That's resources that could have been spent on other crimes, and it damaged the perception of the city. I hope these two individuals get help in their relationship."

DePew suffered a double fracture and needed reconstructive surgery, according to what she told friends and media.

See also: Apparently Knockout Game Has Similar Rules to Uno

The fake knockout narrative went like this: DePew and Simms stopped by the Trophy Room on Arsenal early on November 17 to pick up a drunk friend. The couple was separated in the crowd gathered outside, and someone stepped forward to punch DePew in the face.

trophyroom.jpg
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Trophy Room
"I dropped immediately to the ground and screaming and crying, and everybody just scattered," she told KMOV.

Turns out, it's all one big lie. Police say there is no evidence the couple was at the bar, and the drunk friend told investigators he never saw DePew or Simms that night, according to the Post-Dispatch.

The real story is hardly unusual, but it's still upsetting: The couple was arguing while driving when Simms angrily lashed out, hitting her in the eye, according to the Post-Dispatch.

The couple originally fed the lie to DePew's parents, who made the connection to knockout-game stories in St. Louis and other large American cities. DePew filed a police report two days later.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Trophy Room

5099 Arsenal St., St. Louis, MO

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51 comments
j_wonder2001
j_wonder2001

Good for her. I'm pretty sure she probably said the guy was black. Asians are so white washed. Licking white butt so much and got her butt kicked. 

SRiley
SRiley

I'm more worried that the police actually thought a group of thugs walked up to a group of people in front of the Trophy Room, slugged a girl in the face, and got away.   My head cocked to the side like a confused dog when I read this story, and then where it happened(or didn't).  

cgreaves44
cgreaves44

just like when my sister's boyfriend hit her,I beat his sorry ass and he cried like a baby just like all guys who beat women,cowards every one of them.

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

She needs punched in the other eye!

Vladimer Lapunksky
Vladimer Lapunksky

The comments on this article contribute to the reason why victims of domestic abuse don't come forward, don't file police reports, and make up stories for why they are battered and bruised when someone asks. Maybe she made the story up because this isn't the first time he's hit her. Maybe she made the story up because she was afraid. Maybe she made the story up because HE made her. Also, for those inquiring minds that want to know 'Why would SHE let him do this to her?' That's really not the question you should be asking. You should be asking: 'What type of society have we created where HE thinks it's okay to treat another human being like this?'

wvbl
wvbl

"That's resources that could have been spent on other crimes, and it damaged the perception of the city." ...as Peace Officers... should they be looking for Peace? Why are they looking for crimes? They're not Crime Officers.

Wes Slocum
Wes Slocum

Hope they both get charges and jail time for that bullshit!

Robert Tillman
Robert Tillman

He needs to be arrested and charged with assault and she needs to be arrested for lying and filing a bogus police report

Ellen Reed
Ellen Reed

So is HE being charged with a domestic assault?

Greg McDaniels
Greg McDaniels

How is this victim blame? She covered up the story for her boyfriend and told the police it was a black guy? That's lying to the authorities and covering up a crime. She should have just left him and filed a police report

Tara Daniels
Tara Daniels

Maybe now we can focus on the true villains: abusers.

Tara Daniels
Tara Daniels

Huh...so hordes of young black men aren't roaming the streets beating up white people? *rolls eyes at the "concerned" readers and the RFT*

kerrilknopp
kerrilknopp

She's a battered woman,she should get out of that relationship but it's always easier from this side to simply say that and I hope they don't get her with as many charges or punishments as they do with the guy who hit her...of course she's going to go along with the lie...look at her eye, she's scared!!!  People lie about domestic abuse all the time, why are they so angry with just her???  The anger should go towards the abuse, not just the lie!!!  Glad I don't live where these officers work - I don't get beat - far from it, but if I needed help I would be in trouble waiting for them to get through all their judgements instead of down to the law!!!  So you spent some money, make him pay back back the majority of it and her the rest of it, not saying she shouldn't get anything out of it because maybe that will lead her to get out of the relationship - if you don't usually break the law and here you are in the public's eye as breaking the law and paying fines and settlement, *might* be enough for her to say "Enough!"  Maybe he's never done it before, and I say "maybe" very lightly but he *will* do it again!

Allison Benoit
Allison Benoit

Not to mention the fear of retaliation. Domestic abusers aren't put away forever. What's to stop him from going to jail, getting out, and coming back to punish her for what she did by telling the police about the abuse? Pretty much nothing.

Gregory Alan Echelmeier
Gregory Alan Echelmeier

Ironic that a public convenience in old British is a building of toilets that anyone can use. All around this sad account, the true story here, and false one, it sure does stink for everyone.

Morgan McCord
Morgan McCord

What she needs more than charges against her is some psychiatric help. Everyone is screaming its her fault and she had the chance for help... Look at her face! The damage on the outside is easy to see but the damage done to her on the inside is invisible. It's not uncommon for someone who is a victim of domestic abuse to lie. It goes so much further and deeper than anyone who hasn't been there realizes.

Jess McClain
Jess McClain

Poor ashley. Cant believe that happened.

Greg McDaniels
Greg McDaniels

Graduated high school with her. Didn't take her as the kind of person to let a guy do that. Sad

Natasha Mayton
Natasha Mayton

Not you, the person who commented first. She said, I think the husband did it. Uh, yes. It said that the boyfriend did it in the article.

Lanie Dattilo
Lanie Dattilo

This woman needs to grow a pair, as they say.

bill.streeter
bill.streeter

I don't think the Chief can lay all the blame for the story going viral on the local medias feet. Her friends and acquaintances were posting her photo and the story all over social media too. 

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I knew this story was OFF the minute I heard it. What I heard was "they went to collect a friend from The Trophy Room at 2am and somehow got separated & she got attacked." How does that happen?? How do you get "separated" in a car or in a very small bar? And FYI - that corner is deserted at that time of day. No roving gangs looking for knockout victims. So stupid.

Katherine Law
Katherine Law

Well, Jenn Wright, at least we know it wasn't a random thing in our neighborhood. What a douchebag boyfriend tho. Very sad.

Riverbend Taxi
Riverbend Taxi

See here's the thing these two idiots ( and BOTH were at fault because both were involved in the LIE!!!) did more than just cover up a domestic battery ass kicking to police , which if she would have just said she ran into a door or something that would be one thing , but to invent or more accurately NOT correct the untrue knockout game story was equivalent to inciting civil unrest. They let the lie ride and set the blame on the scarey young black boogie man , instead of correcting the story and saying that it was not a knockout game situation. That is why she and the boyfriend should both be charged. You have to take responsibility for your actions and there are consequences to lies. You don't get to play the victim card just because you are pretty and white . The white girl isn't always the innocent victim, though a few will always play it that way because they know that in the public eye the black guy always loses.

Lynn Pevey
Lynn Pevey

You know, I grew up watching my mother get beat on a consistent basis...sometimes daily. I had to listen to her cry every night, see the cuts/injuries/bruises, and hear the fear in her voice when she'd come to comfort my brother and I when we were scared for her. She had so many opportunities to get away from him or say something to the police officers that arrived some nights (mind you the cops were not always called because people didn't want to get involved or he would hide the phones) I asked the same questions over and over as I got older, why don't you leave him or why don't you say something to anyone. Her answer was always the same. She was scared to be alone and it was never the fear of HIM itself...it was the fear of the unknown that kept her there. She was scared to be alone and raise us children on her own. She had her demons as he did and to be alone with us with no support was something that she carried with her because of her own life of abandonment and personal hells that she endured. So saying that it's that easy to just stand up and walk away is not always the case with battered women. I, unlike her, would NEVER allow a man or anyone to put their hands on me or abuse me, but it's because of what I know and had seen throughout my childhood. But please never think it's just a matter of simply putting your foot down. Everyone has different reasons for not leaving such a situation. What this woman needs is counseling and guidance to show her that there are other options for her, but until she asks for that help or decides it's time to make the change there is nothing anyone can say or do that will make her leave. Sad as that may be.

Mswazi Msanii
Mswazi Msanii

What's wrong with most women nowadays falling in love with douche bad boys who beat & abuse them and instead of reporting to the law or running for their lives they choose to stay and protect them?Hitting a woman was, is and will never be right but it all starts with the woman..once hit..please exit..

Heather Greenlee
Heather Greenlee

If someone has the opportunity to tell the truth because they're already in police presence and it has national media attention, you're not a damn victim if you keep your mouth shut. Tell the police 'don't leave me with him, he did this to me. Please arrest him'. I'm tired of people portraying women as such helpless creatures that can't stand up for themselves and typecast forever as victims. Grow some balls and tell that motherfucker to go eat shit if he's literally breaking your face! She should be charged with filing a false report because she had PLENTY of opportunities to tell the police she was being abused. It's time to start empowering women and stop coddling them. SAY SOMETHING.

Jeannie Kramer Latner
Jeannie Kramer Latner

She should be charged!! She chose to stay w him and help cover his story!!! And all the time wasted and $$ spent on this?? Hell yes charge her ass!!!!

Sunni Jefferson
Sunni Jefferson

Stirring up all that racial hostility for nothing... They couldn't come up with a better lie than that?

Miranda Harmes
Miranda Harmes

Well Brian Brown he hit her in the car and they never were at the trophy room. For starters

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

The boyfriend did it outside the trophy room . What's not true Natasha

Mike McCollum
Mike McCollum

A victim of domestic abuse shouldn't be charged with filing a false police report.

Natasha Mayton
Natasha Mayton

Seems that some people just read the headlines and post comments...

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Yep got her good too . What a douche

darcyrohde
darcyrohde

I don't feel sorry for women that stay with abusers, unless they're chained in the basement or something!!  Your mom was afraid of being alone... wow, at least she was honest, but she did a real number on the other "loved ones" around her that she dragged through her self-centered mess!


katnana
katnana

Sure, and then one day he shows up at your door and you end up going to the hospital.  Been there, done that.  It's scary either way.  She should not have perpetuated that lie about the knockout game, which is a lie in the first place, and should be put on probation and her boyfriend needs to go to jail for such a serious injury.

katnana
katnana

If you'd read the article, you'd know it was her boyfriend who did that.


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