Orthodox men accused of Trayvon Martin-style attack
TWO MEN from Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community have gone on trial this week accused of assaulting a black 15-year-old boy 18 months ago.
Brothers Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim, members of the community’s neighbourhood watch group, known as the Shomrim, claimed they acted in self-defence .
They allegedly surrounded the teenager, threw him to the floor and hit him more than once. They were charged with second-degree assault and false imprisonment and, if found guilty, could face 13 years behind bars.
The Werdersheims said the boy was holding what looked like a board with nails attached to it. The boy, who was hospitalised after the clash, told investigators one of his attackers shouted: “You wanna (mess) with us, you don’t belong around here, get outta here.”
The trial — which has been delayed six times — has come to prominence in the wake of the death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February.
A Hispanic neighbourhood-watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, who was charged last month in relation to Martin’s death, also claimed that he was defending himself.
Eliyahu Werdesheim has had his shomrim membership revoked in the wake of the scandal, while the branch said his brother was never a Shomrim member.