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October 7, 2009

Ex-Raven busted by city cop found dead on eve of trial

Ex-Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tony Fein's (left, in a picture by the Baltimore Sun's Amy Davis) trial had been scheduled for this morning on charges that he assaulted a Baltimore police officer over the summer at the Inner Harbor in a case that sparked a debate over racial profiling.

Fein, 27, died Tuesday morning in Port Orchard, Wash., his agent told The Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley. We still don't know details of how Fein, who was cut by the team before the start of the season, died. Fein was an Iraqi war veteran had been a linebacker.

He was with other players at a food stand when a security guard thought she saw someone in his group hand him a gun. The guard notified city police and Sgt. Joseph Donato, who is white, twice asked the black player to stand up and said in a report (read the report here) that the player refused. In the report, the officer said the player turned around and reached for silverware, and that's when the sergeant grabbed Fein by the sweat shirt, forced him to the ground and handcuffed the 6 foot 2, 245 pound linebacker.

Fein's agent said the player did not know at first the man behind him was a police officer and denied disobeying his orders. The arrest came shortly after a gang-related shooting in the same Light Street pavilion and other violence at the Harbor that scared tourists and visitors and prompted extra police and warnings from the mayor that cops would crack down on suspicious people.

Fein never publicly commented on his arrest, so we were awaiting his trial to hear his side of the story. His agent claimed Fein was a victim of racial profiling. We'll check later today with Fein's attorney to see if he got statements from other players who were there at the time.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:10 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Breaking news, Downtown
        

Comments

A sad ending to this story. A veteran, too. Sympathy to his family.

Another blightr on the Balto. police dept. The police lie all the time when they make there reports , that is one of the main reasons for so few convictions in Balto. The police lie and expect to get respect and expect ot get convictions, they are a joke and am=n embarrassment, of course how much more of an embarrassment can they be than the mayor of the city is herself? The Great City of Balto!!! lol!Now this proud veteran who put his life on the line for this country is DEAD!!! Thanks Balto. City Police! Nice job!What lies are next?

Sad. Cops lie, lie, lie. They are purposely selected for their lack of intelligence. What do we expect? They generally base their judgments on appearances and don't bother to really investigate further. I've seen this type of thing happen countless times. No surprise here.

Mike,

What does Fein's death have to do with the Baltimore Police Department? You may hate the BPD but your entry, as well as burninggirl's, have nothing to do with the news item. Save your crazy rants for park pigeons & try to use the public forum for constructive conversations.

Fein never publicly commented on his arrest, so we were awaiting his trial to hear his side of the story. His agent claimed Fein was a victim of racial profiling. We'll check later today with Fein's attorney to see if he got statements from other players who were there at the time.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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