In a case eerily similar to that of slain teen Trayvon Martin, two white brothers in Baltimore went on trial today after being charged with beating a 15-year-old black teenager who was walking through the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where they were neighborhood watchmen.
While most of the country has been captivated by the controversy surrounding the shooting death of unarmed teen Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, the Baltimore case has largely gone unnoticed.
According to the Associated Press, Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim pulled up next to the teen, then got out and surrounded him. The passenger proceeded to throw the teen to the ground as the driver came around and hit him in the head repeatedly with a hand-held radio.
The teen told police he remembered hearing the driver yell, “You wanna (mess) with us, you don’t belong around here, get outta here!”
Eliyahu Werdesheim claims the attack was in self-defense because the teen was holding a piece of wood. Lawyers for the teen admitted their client indeed picked up a piece of wood, but he put it back down.
So here we are, another black teen harassed and attacked by overzealous neighborhood watchmen and a delayed reaction by law enforcement to bring justice to the situation. Although there was no death, why did it take so long to bring this case to trial. The attack happened in November 2010, but there were six different trial postponements.
When asked about the case, local Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter president Cortly C.D. Witherspoon told the Associated Press, “We feel that justice should have been served long ago. I would contend that the urgency for justice (in this case) is affected by the Trayvon Martin case because of its similarities.”
Now that it’s on the national radar screen, the case of these two Baltimore brothers accused of beating an unarmed black teen will surely be closely watched.