BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A member of a community action group that patrols one Baltimore neighborhood is under fire, accused of assaulting a teenager.

Gigi Barnett has more.

City police officers say every neighborhood should have a patrol group but last week, officers say an encounter with a 15-year-old went too far.

A Northwest Baltimore neighborhood has extra eyes and ears watching.  It’s a Jewish patrol group and one of its volunteers faces charges of first-degree assault, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment. 

Police say Eliyahu Werdesheim, 23, struck an African-American teen last week as the 15-year-old walked through the Park Heights neighborhood.

“We have a case that we’re investigating now that involves an individual who may have taken the law into his own hands,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police spokesperson.

According to the police report, the teen told officers Werdesheim and two other guards surrounded him near the 3300-block of Fallstaff Road.  The teen says the men threw him to the ground began to pat him down and told him he didn’t belong in the area.  He said Werdesheim hit him in the head with a walkie-talkie while the other men held him down.

“They’re a vital part of keeping the community safe.  We encourage more community organizations to get involved but we’re not to going to tolerate people who take the law into their own hands,” Guglielmi said.

Now the teen has a broken wrist and cuts on his head.

“This person was on people’s back porches, looking into houses,” said Andrew Alperstein, Werdesheim’s attorney.

Alperstein says his client–who is a former Israeli special forces soldier–thought the teen was a criminal suspect and it was Werdesheim who acted in self-defense.

“The suspected wrongdoer then picked up a stick and swung it at Mr. Werdesheim.  Mr. Werdesheim defended himself and this will be a self-defense case,” Alperstein said.

The group suspended Werdesheim until an investigation is complete.

Werdesheim is out on bail.

Comments (25)
  1. YTstudent. says:

    I understand where the members of Shomrim are coming from, they have the right to protect their community and make it safe for others. In this incident they went too far. I also sense some discrimination here, saying “You don’t belong here” is inappropriate. Next, I don’t see where false imprisonment charges are coming from. Based on the stories facts I don’t see where the victim was taken somewhere against his will, and had no means of escape.

    1. CD says:

      The false imprisonment part is when they held him down. That’s all you need for falso imprisonment. At that point, he couldn’t leave on his free will because they were holding him.

      1. The Phantom says:

        Yes, he probably put the kid in a pretzel lock.

  2. E says:

    I grew up in this neighborhood, and I’m not surprised that this has happened. Some of the jewish people in this community, NOT all, act like they own this part of Baltimore. They do a lot things they go over looked. Hopefully this will bring REAL police around to patrol the areas.

  3. bob says:

    By holding him down a patting him down technically they held him against his will. False imprisonment doesnt require you to take someone somewhere just hold them against their will

  4. Oori Schmulson says:

    You don’t mess with the Zohan.

  5. outsideTHEbox says:

    Let’s piece this together…If he was a former Special Forces soldier in Israel and is only 23 years of age-He in turn must also still be a citizen in Israel. It takes an average of 7 years to obtain U.S. citizenship if he has even applied; therefore he must be within our country on a student/work Visa or possibly illegally. So the larger lesson we can take from this situation is that although we constantly rag individuals from Spanish countries for immigrating here and “causing problems.” Individuals who appear to assimilate into our society, because we can’t pick them out from the crowd visually, in turn could have an even greater impact. Our taxes now have to pay for the trial, proceedings, and extradition of an individual who came to this country and committed a crime. Technically and depending on how you look at it: it wasn’t “his community” to begin with.

    1. Cindy Bond says:

      couldn’t of said it better myself…

    2. Balto4930 says:

      He is likely a US citizen. I believe Israeli law confers Israeli citizenship on American Jews. I have known several that have served in tthe Israeli miltary. Many jewish americans do this (as well as other nationalities) but are legally able to retain American citizenship. You guys have already judged and executed this guy without knowing the facts. Terrible.

    3. shaya says:

      For the record Israel allows Americans to join the army. He could also have dual citizenship. You must be uneducated to make such a foolish assumption.

  6. The Zohan says:

    Oori, You the mench!

  7. Free2speak2 says:

    You got some nerver to put your hands on a child. You should have stepped up to a man. Now your attorney is lying stating he was pepping in someone’s home. NO proof. You was dead wrong!!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!

  8. jen says:

    @outsideTHEbox: Another question is, if he is 23 and already a “former” Israeli special forces soldier, and living here, I wonder why??

    1. The Phantom says:

      He come to America for dream of meeting the great Paul Mitchell and becoming hair stylist!

  9. Free2speak2 says:

    The Zohan- He was not a good samaritian possibly illegal immigrant. You should be ashame of yourself too. You are a few blocks from the hood. So don’t go there! You don’t own the community & people can go where they please. You’re going to step up to right person one day. What goes around comes around.

  10. blah says:

    how many violent crimes are committed by israeli forces people volunteering for community watch compared to other groups in baltimore.. its possible this person was wrong in his actions but it is way more likely it was a simple act of preventing a possibly perceived future crime.whats his motive to hurt this kid ? whats the motive for the kid to possibly been peeking into peoples homes? let the facts speak for themselves before people jump to conclusions..

  11. The Phantom says:

    This is all a big misunderstanding. The kid was actually a fake Arab hired by Grant Walbridge.

  12. City Councilman Doug says:

    To be fair, it’s tough being on a community nightwatch, and these guys are often under a lot of pressure and even in serious danger. I go on these patrols sometimes and let me tell you, I bet if any of you people were on a patrol, you’d be terrified–totally terrified. Pooping your pants doesn’t even come close. You’d WISH you were pooping your pants. What if something goes down? Would you have the courage? What if something goes down and someone gets killed? I’d be happier pooping my pants. Much happier.

  13. David says:

    Its a sad commentary on Baltimore that simply because a black man chose to case houses in a Jewish neighborhood that he receives a coupon to commit crimes against Jews simply so the police won’t be seen as racist. Reference the state police hoopla of a year ago. This is sickening.Go on a vacation, visit another state, visit another country, get some perspective.Trying to rob someones house is generally a crime.

    1. Balto4930 says:

      David- Could not have said it better myself. If people would go on trips other than sterilized cruises to the Carribbean, they might learn a thing or two and open up their minds a bit.

  14. lisa Williams says:

    Jews you do not own that neighborhood. I brought my house 36 years ago and who do you think you are God. The parents need to sued

  15. nick says:

    This guy went to far==he should have observed and called police because you get a mess like this. This is not GAZA where you can stop and interrogate anyone at will. What is the ex-sholdier’s visa status. I would encourage the neighborhood to find and train a better patrol system because you get a mess like this. Self -defense??? I don’t see a scratch on him and once the kid and police got together The SUN reports that the patrol force left–why?? If you feel you acted appropriately, they should have stayed and talked with the police.

  16. Gracey says:

    Two sides to every story. Yeah, the kid should not have been on someone elses personal property peeking in their windows, obviously looking for something to steal. Hi was not looking for his mommy. I believe the young partrolman did the right thing and I believe the bad kid tried to fight to get away, like they do. The judge will sort this out. Honestly, I don’t know how this got so out of hand, there have always been neighborhood watches, but now the invaders are more criiminal and use excessive force. Our neighborhood had watchers, thank God, they caught a “jogger” waiting til working people left and broke into their homes, sat, ate, watched tv, then stole valuable items. These people are all different religions looking out for one another, we have to.

  17. Gracey says:

    and lisa, take a chill pill, you obviously have some hate issues, knock it off. We are all people

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