August 25, 2009

Fein’s agent alleges racism in arrest

Racial profiling by police led to the arrest of rookie Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tony Fein on charges he assaulted a police officer, his agent says.

Fein agent Milton Dee Hobbs Jr. told The Baltimore Sun Monday police targeted the 27-year-old NFL football player because he is black. The arrest took place Sunday after Harborplace security personnel alerted police several men were passing around a silver object that turned out to be a cell phone. Fein, a veteran of the Iraq war, was asked twice to stand up and refused, then shoved a white police officer in the chest, police allege.

Hobbs said Monday Fein was approached from behind and did not know Sgt. Joseph Donato was an officer. He said Fein didn't push Donato, and contends police approached Fein because he was a black man wearing a baggy, hooded sweat shirt.

"They had a gang incident a week ago, so I don't see how anybody could

deny that on its face," Hobbs said, referring to an incident in which two people were shot.

Police rejected the racial profiling claim. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the incident could have easily been avoided if Fein and others at the scene had cooperated with police and explained the situation.

Fein said he didn't want to get into the details of the incident.

Let me be innocent until proven guilty, he said.

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said Monday he was sure the police officers were doing their best.

"On the other hand, we really feel strongly about Tony Fein. ... If

there is anybody who understands how to handle themselves with

authority, it's Tony, who has been to Iraq," Harbaugh said.