Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Pamela White struck the convictions on Tuesday, Dec. 17, of a former Shomrim member who was arrested in the beating of a teenager in November 2010.
Eli Werdesheim, 26, was convicted last summer of wrongful imprisonment and assault in the beating of Corey Ausby, an African-American teenager who was 15 at the time.
Werdesheim’s brother, Avi, 23, was acquitted of similar charges.
The case heightened racial tensions and set off a media firestorm, even evoking comparisons to the killing in Florida of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
“Normally, when this [type of incident] happens, it’s just not that big a deal,” said Andrew Alperstein, Werdesheim’s attorney. “Nobody could have seen the political storm that followed it and other interests that put gas on the flame.”
Werdesheim, who was responding to a call for the Park Heights neighborhood watch group, was granted probation before judgment, which is not a conviction. The ruling will allow him to expunge his public record in three years.
“I think it’s a great weight off his shoulders,” Alperstein said.
Werdesheim, a pre-law and business student at Johns Hopkins University, declined to comment. A Shomrim spokesperson, as well as an attorney for the victim’s family, could not be reached for comment.
On Nov. 19, 2010, Werdesheim was radioed about a suspicious individual walking in the 3300 block of Fallstaff Road. Testimony from the victim and the Werdesheims differs as to what provoked the scuffle.
The victim alleged that a driver and a passenger followed him, then jumped out of their vehicle, threw him to the ground and hit him on the head with a hand-held radio. Another man came out of a nearby white van and allegedly struck the victim in the back of his knee, court records said.
Other testimony alleged that the victim charged at Werdesheim with a wooden plank that had nails sticking out of it after shouting anti-Semitic remarks.
Last summer, Eli Werdesheim was sentenced to three years of probation for the wrongful imprisonment and assault charges. He faced up to 10 years in prison.
In addition to his conviction being stricken, Werdesheim’s three-year probation will end this month.