Teen's Beating Roils Black,
Date: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 5:33 am
By: Sean Yoes,
Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com
The beating of a black teen in Baltimore by a
member of a Jewish neighborhood patrol group has
once again heightened racial tensions between the
black and Jewish communities, and the incident
has lead to calls by some of the citys
black leaders for the groups disbandment.
Eliyahu Eliezer Werdesheim, 23, a volunteer with
the mostly-Jewish patrol group Shomrim, was
arrested and charged with first-degree assault,
reckless endangerment and false imprisonment in
connection with the beating of the 15-year old
who has not been identified who
suffered lacerations to his head and a broken
wrist, according to court records.
According to a police report, the teen was
walking through a largely Jewish Northwest
Baltimore neighborhood on Friday, Nov. 19 when a
car pulled alongside of him at around 12:45 p.m.
The report indicates the boy asked why he was
being followed, and the driver of the vehicle -
allegedly Werdersheim - replied,
Youre the guy from yesterday on Park
Heights ... you want some problems?
The teen, who attends Northwestern High School in
the same neighborhood, alleges he picked up a
stick to defend himself, but dropped it when the
two men approached. Then the two Shomrim members
allegedly threw the youth to the ground, and one
held him down while Werdesheim struck him in the
head with a radio.
You dont f---ing belong here. Get out
of here, Werdersheim allegedly told the
black teen before the two men fled.
According to police, another member of the patrol
group provided medical assistance to the youth
and identified the vehicle Werdersheim was
Werdersheim, who, according to The Baltimore Sun,
was formally an Israeli Special Forces soldier,
asserts the youth wielded a two by four with
nails in it and was only acting in self-defense.
Werdersheim has been suspended by Shomrin in the
wake of the incident.
However, several of the citys black leaders
believe the suspension of one member of the
organization does not go far enough in resolving
the incident and allaying the underlying
hostilities connected to historic mistrust and
intolerance between blacks and Jews in Baltimore.
This situation has the potential to
heighten and further those tensions if some real,
constructive engagement is not taken upon,
said Pastor Heber Brown III of Pleasant Hope
Baptist Church during an interview with NBC
affiliate WBAL-TV. Brown is also vice-president
of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance,
a long-standing coalition of activist clergy from
the Baltimore-Metropolitan area.
The Interdenominational Ministerial
Alliance condemns the attack of the 15-year-old
youth by a group of Jewish men on Nov. 19th in
the Upper Park Heights Community, the group
said in a recent statement. Wanton violence
is unacceptable, and we welcome the opportunity
to meet with youth and all concerned community
groups. We will not stand by and allow our
children to be victimized by over-zealous violent
fringe groups such as Shomrim.
Others believe Shomrim, which was started in late
2005 after a string of burglaries in upper Park
Heights, has, for the most part, been well
received by both blacks and Jews for its efforts
in keeping the community safe. However, even some
Jewish leaders are concerned about the racial
implications connected to the alleged attack.
What concerns me is this person possibly
was attacked because he was perceived as not
belonging in the community because of the color
of his skin, said Art Abramson, executive
director of the Baltimore Jewish Council.
That concerns me. Im not saying that
happened, but certainly there are accusations out
Black and Jewish leaders in Baltimore plan to sit
down Wednesday in an effort to establish a more
viable dialogue between the two communities, but
some leaders allude to violent confrontations
connected to past conflicts between blacks and
Jews in other urban areas.
At this point, without having an
opportunity to dialogue, the African-American
community has absolutely no confidence in the
Shomrim and is quite frankly concerned about the
safety of our students at the neighboring
predominantly Black Northwestern High School,
Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, president of the African-American
Democratic Club of Baltimore City wrote in an
email to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.
So as to prevent the heightened racial
tensions that transpired in Crown Heights, New
York in 1991 and in 1996 resulting in riots, I am
requesting that you take a firm and sturdy
position to prove to your constituents that you
oppose excessive force.
Mark Madoff, the
eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard
Madoff, has been found hanged in his downtown
Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of
the day his father turned himself in to
His death, which was reported to the police by
his father-in-law at 7.30am today, came days
after he was named in a new lawsuit by the
liquidators of his father's empire.