Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Jewish crime group member fights back on charges 

More questions are being raised about a member of a Jewish crime patrol group charged with assaulting a teenager in Northwest Baltimore.

A lawyer for Eliyahu Eliezer Werdesheim, who says he's a former member of the Israeli special forces, said in court on Monday that the youth wasn't injured in the way police had described. Authorities said the youth had broken his wrist during the altercation; the lawyer described the injury as a "boxer's fracture," associated with punching a hard object.

The prosecutor wouldn't comment and the attorney was careful to avoid saying precisely how the youth was injured. But it raised questions during Monday's bail hearing about how the altercation took place.

Police said in charging documents that Werdesheim struck the youth and told him, "You don't belong around here." The youth is black, and the incident sparked anger in the predominantly African-American Park Heights community and raised tensions with Orthodox Jews.

Monday's bail hearing centered around whether Werdesheim could leave the country to visit Israel while his charges are pending. A Baltimore judge allowed the trip over the objections of the prosecutor, who said in court he feared an extradition battle. The suspect's relatives pledged to put up $50,000 if Werdesheim doesn't return. He holds a round-trip ticket.


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