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Protesters Blast Baltimore’s New City State’s Attorney

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Gregg Bernstein, Protest

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Barely in office a month and there’s already criticism being thrown at Baltimore City’s new state’s attorney.  Controversy is growing over the case of two Jewish men accused of attacking an African-American teenager. 

Kai Jackson explains why dozens protested the city state’s attorney’s office Monday.

The case involving a member of the activist group Shomrim isn’t over, but there are people in the community clearly not satisfied with the way the city state’s attorney is handling it.

Protesters marched outside the office of city state’s attorney Gregg Bernstein, furious over his decision not to charge Eli Werdesheim, 23, and his brother Avi with a felony.

“If he’s going to be a no-comment type of state prosecutor, then I think it’s going to be a rough and rocky road for the next couple of years,” said Hasan Giordano, Black Media Group.

Werdesheim and his brother are accused of breaking the wrist of a 15-year-old African-American teen in the Park Heights section of Baltimore in November 2010.  The brothers are part of a Jewish watchdog group called Shomrim and said the teen was acting suspiciously.

Community activists have argued the brothers should have been charged with a hate crime.

“This attack and how it has been handled is an absolute outrage and shame.  Shomrim must be disbanded,” said Sharon Black.

Bernstein released a statement saying, “No factors behind the facts and the law were considered, nor will any factors outside the facts and the law be considered in making charging decisions in any future cases.”

The defense attorney praised the state prosecutor.

“I think it’s shameful that Mr. Bernstein in the beginning of his job is being attacked for doing his job.  This isn’t a hate crime,” said Andrew Alperstein.

Werdesheim is scheduled to see a judge Feb. 16.

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