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Brother Charged In Jewish Neighborhood Watch Attack

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A second person is now facing charges in an assault involving a Jewish patrol group and an African-American teenager.

Kelly McPherson breaks down the new developments.

Eli Werdesheim faces several misdemeanors after a black teen says he beat him up in November.

Werdesheim was volunteering with Shomrim--an Orthodox Jewish community patrol in Northwest Baltimore. His brother, Avi, was also there that night and now faces the same charges.

"Something that's long overdue.  There is one more remaining suspect out there.  His name starts with an R and ends with an H.  He is a pillar of the Jewish community," said J. Wyndal Gordon, victim's attorney.

The 15-year-old victim's lawyer says the brothers and another Shomrim member broke his client's wrist when they stopped him while he was walking in the Park Heights neighborhood in November.

"He was targeted," Gordon said.  "He was singled out because he's an African-American in a Jewish community.  Yes, I'm annoyed that we have to deal with those issues in 2011."

"This isn't a hate crime," Andrew Alperstein, Eli's attorney. "This isn't any more than a dispute of fact between two people over a relative minor misdemeanor charge."

Eli's lawyer says the media attention is overblown.

Still cultural groups have been meeting to address the case's racial undertones.

But the brothers are not charged with a hate crime. They're charged with assault, false imprisonment and possessing a deadly weapon.

The lawyer for the second brother is surprised Avi is implicated.

"By charging this brother it creates a pressure, if you will, that I just don't believe it's properly brought," said Susan Green, Avi's attorney. "Again, we'll have to wait for trial, but I do expect my client to be fully vindicated."

"It's a very close-knit family; it's a close-knit community.  And obviously no one would want to their brother charged with a crime, whether they were a co-defendant or not," Alperstein said.

A felony charge was dropped in the case. The brothers are due in court next month.

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