Rookie charged with assaulting officer

Updated: October 6, 2009, 11:03 PM ET
Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker Tony Fein said Monday night he will be exonerated of charges he allegedly assaulted a police officer once his side of the altercation is made public.

Fein, however, refused to discuss specifics of the skirmish, which occurred inside a Johnny Rockets restaurant in Baltimore's Inner Harbor tourist district.

"I'm just saying I'm innocent," said Fein in the locker room following the Ravens' 24-23 preseason victory over the New York Jets. "I'm not going to get into the details of it, but the truth will come out."

The arrest of Fein, an Iraq war veteran, was the result of police profiling, the linebacker's agent said Monday.

Fein was charged Sunday with the misdemeanor assault of a Baltimore City officer who confronted him after a security guard thought he saw Fein pass a handgun to a friend at the restaurant counter, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The item was a cell phone.

"Tony's never owned a weapon in his life," Fein's agent, Milton Dee Hobbs, said. "That weapon was a cell phone."

Hobbs said police approached Fein because he was a black man wearing a sweatsuit with a hood.

Guglielmi disputed the claim that this was a case of racial profiling.

"It doesn't matter if you're black, white, green or blue, if you push an officer, you're going to get arrested." Guglielmi said. "He can take concerns up with the judge."

Fein would not address whether he believed he was a victim of profiling.

While Fein spoke, nearby teammates offered profanity-laced support for the rookie and chastised media members for not asking questions related to the Ravens' victory.

Fein said he had never been in trouble with the law before.

"I'm 110 percent innocent and once the facts come out, I'll be proven [innocent]," he said.

Ravens wide receiver Jayson Foster, who acknowledged he was with Fein when the scuffle took place, is cooperating with the investigation.

"I already gave my report to the police. You'll have to pretty much check with them to see what they say," said Foster.

When pressed about details, Foster said he didn't know that Fein had been charged with a crime.

"I don't know the charges," Foster said. "We'll wait for the [police] report to come out. How it ends up is how it will be."

Baltimore police recently stepped up security at Harborplace, a shopping and dining complex that is a major tourism draw for the city, after a shooting at the same building a week earlier.

When police questioned Fein, 27, he became belligerent and shoved the officer, Guglielmi said.

According to a police report, Sgt. Joseph Donato loudly told Fein: "Stand up, turn around and keep your hands where I can see them." Fein reacted by pushing Donato with one hand while turning around from the restaurant counter, police said.

Donato was knocked to the ground and hurt his right elbow, the report said. Donato grabbed Fein by his "F Troop, 9th Cavalry, Ft. Hood, Texas" sweatshirt, forced him to the ground and he and other officers handcuffed him, the report stated. Fein was not injured, police said.

The police report noted the officer was concerned about "a recent shooting at this pavilion" and that Fein's sweatshirt "did not seem weather-appropriate."

Hobbs said it was the officer who was aggressive and that Fein didn't shove him.

"Tony's a good kid," Hobbs said. "He's not going to disrespect an officer."

Hobbs said Fein has not been arrested before and Maryland's courts database does not have any record of previous arrests or charges against Fein. The police department's internal affairs unit does not have any sustained complaints against Donato on file, Guglielmi said.

Fein was released about 1 a.m. Monday and slept at a downtown hotel with the rest of the team, something the team does the night before a game, according to Kevin Byrne, a Ravens vice president.

"Like all citizens, Tony will get his due process and have his opportunity to explain," Byrne said in a statement. "There are two sides to every story."

Fein served in the Army for more than three years before playing college ball. In two seasons at Ole Miss, he had 136 tackles (77 solo) in 24 games, according to the Ravens Web site. Fein was signed as a free agent in June following a minicamp tryout.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press