Ortho­dox men ac­cused of Trayvon Martin-style at­tack

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

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.

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