Here's a link to the verdict from the local fish-wrapper:
This was a bench trial, lawyers for the defendant didn't believe they could get a fair trial from a city jury, er, bamboozle a city jury to to find for their client, I mean. (Of course, part of tht problem is the frum Jews in Baltimore City do their damndest to get out of jury duty, and if they do have to come downtown, they'll do anything to keep from being assigned to a trial. I've seen this firsthand, so no arguments!)
So the judge looked at the evidence, and convicted the older brother (Eliyahu) and acquitted the younger one (Avi). Apparently Avi was hust along for the ride, and didn't actually confront the victim or beat him up. Looks like the victim's erratic behavior on the stand didn't make much of a difference in the end.
The following are some interesting exceprts from Steve Kilar's article in the Sun dated May3, along with my comments.
"He relied on his military training to take Ausby down," White [the judge] said about Eliyahu, a former Israeli special-forces soldier. "I also find that the contact was not legally justified."
This just goes to show you that military training is totally inappropriate preparation for police work. This may explain, in part, the problems the Israelis have had in the territories. I have a nephew who just made aliyah and got sucked into Zahal. I sure hope he doesn't end up in the territories with the kind of training this nudnick had.
The Werdesheim brothers followed and frightened Ausby, now 16, as he walked down a residential street in Park Heights, causing the teen to pull a nail-studded board from a construction site, White said in her ruling. To get Ausby to drop the board, Eliyahu struck him in the head with a walkie-talkie and held him on the ground, she concluded.
That must have been some walkie-talkie. The ones that the other neighborhood watch group issues to us are pretty wimpy, and I wouldn't want to use them to defend myself.
The brothers got out of Eliyahu's car and confronted Ausby, White said. Avi said, "We know who you are; we saw you on Park Heights; you don't belong here," the judge said. That's when Ausby became scared, went to get the board and continued walking down the street, she said.
Looks like there was enough evidence for the judge to believe the victim's side of the story.
The trial was filled with a string of unreliable witnesses, she [Judge White] said. Shomrim members who testified were not credible, providing statements they believed were in their own best interests or best served the neighborhood watch, White said.
White's rebuke of Shomrim members' credibility followed a year and a half of criticism from community leaders that the group lacks oversight and structure. Eliyahu, who testified Wednesday, said that the group had no written rules and only a "loose mentorship program" for training.
He testified to that? Now in the other neighborhood watch group, we're not exactly the police academy, but they did have some written guidelines for us. And the cop who works with us has said a couple of things about the Shomrim that confirm Judge White's findings.
"I think the trial showed the Shomrim group was really out of order," said Tessa Hill-Aston, president of Baltimore's NAACP branch. Community policing groups like Shomrim should have organized training and accountable record-keeping — so that everyone knows who is out on the street doing patrols, she said.
I would agree with that. The other neighborhood watch I think keeps good records. Perhoas some additional training would be in order,too.)
The Police Department should increase their oversight of groups like Shomrim, and background and mental health checks should be conducted for anyone who wants to take part in community watch patrols, said the Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
That's going too far -- as long as the patrollers stay in the car and radio a cop to investigate, and don't confront people.
Joe Bondar, a resident of the Cheswolde neighborhood for the last 30 years and a friend of the Werdesheim family, said crime occurs in the community every night, and complaints that Shomrim and other community watch units are the problem — or aren't trained for the work they do — are misplaced.
"How about training the hoodlums who terrify the community night after night, break into houses, break into cars?" he said. "The police do absolutely nothing, and to put the blame on someone who's trying to do something about it? It's ridiculous."
Bondar continued: "It doesn't matter if it's a white person or a black person. It's not a racial issue. It's a safety issue."
Excuse me Mr. Bondar, did you just step out a time machine from 1978? Yeah, back then, there was a bit of a problem in the area. That's why they set up the other neighborhood watch group, which was wildly successful and caused crime to drop to the point that unescorted frum women have been walking outside at night for years. Of course there's some crime. When I moved in to my current house, one of my first evenings, I saw a bunch of kids steal a car from across the street. Of course, that was in 1984. I've had my car broken into (that was in 1994) and my lawn mover stolen (that was some time in the 1990s, too.) The crime rate in ournorthwest Baltimore neighborhood is ridiculously low, and the fear-mongering by Mr. Bondar is nonsense, and it's a shame that the reporter from the Sun uncritically reported it. As for the police doing "absolutely nothing," that's also nonsense. I have personally called the police, and they are as responsive and professional as one would expect. As for it not being a racial issue. Ho-ho-ho, and what bridge to Brooklyn are you trying to sell me today? I've been a Shabbos guest enough times to hear some racist crap spewed out that would be right at home at a Klan rally. Sure, not all the Orthodox are that way, but there are sure a lot of them. (To be fair, there's a good share of borderline racist non-Orthodox, too, but they usually have the manners to keep their mouths shut about it.)
Frankly, I don't see the need for the Shomrim, at least not in Baltimore, as the other neighborhood watch patrol was doing a perfectly good job without resulting in trials for assault and false imprisonment, and our police department is perfectly competent and professional. But then I don't see the need for a Hatzolah organization in Baltimore either, as our fire department has perfectly good paramedic services wit excellent response times. I think it's something about the Orthodox wanting to have their own little separate alternative reality.