Baltimore Ravens undrafted rookie linebacker Tony Fein, a former Iraq war veteran, was charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer Sunday night following an arrest at Johnny Rockets in the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.
According to a police incident report, Fein was eating dinner with an unidentified group of men at the restaurant when security officers contacted police after they witnessed a large, silver object that they believed to be a handgun being passed around between the men. It was later discovered that the object was actually a cellular telephone, not a handgun.
When police arrived at the scene, Fein, 27, allegedly refused to stand up. Then, Sgt. Tony Donato demanded loudly to Fein a second time, "Stand up, turn around and keep your hands where I can see them," according to the report.
Fein allegedly stood up and shoved the officer with one hand in the chest, and Donato fell to the ground and landed on his right elbow.
"For this reason, Sgt. Donato grabbed Fein by the sweatshirt and forced him to the ground and placed him under arrest," stated the report. "Fein was then handcuffed with assistance from other officers."
Fein was processed at Central Booking after being taken into custody, according to police. Police officials said that Donato is in good condition and that Fein wasn’t injured during the incident.
Like all citizens, Tony will get his due process and have his opportunity to explain," Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne said in a statement. "There are two sides to every story.”
According to the police report, Donato was concerned that Fein was wearing a large gray hooded sweatshirt.
"This attire did not seem weather-appropriate to Sgt. Donato, based on time of year and temperature and could be used to conceal a handgun," the report stated.
The Baltimore City police department has recently increased patrols and security has been heightened at the Inner Harbor in the wake of an Aug. 15 shooting in the proximity of the Phillips Seafood restaurant that was allegedly gang-related and left two people wounded.
Fein, who played collegiately at Ole Miss, is a former Army infantry Delta recon scout who’s trying to make the roster after being signed in June following a tryout at a rookie minicamp. Even before the incident, Fein was considered to be facing a tough battle to make the final 53-man roster.
Fein had a disagreement with an academic counselor at Ole Miss as a senior, a run-in which affected his status on the depth chart with new coach Houston Nutt. Fein eventually regained his starting job after initially being demoted by Nutt. He registered 52 tackles during his final collegiate season, including a pivotal stop in an upset victory over the Florida Gators.
The Ravens wrapped up training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster this weekend, and the AFC North team plays the New York Jets tonight at M&T Bank Stadium.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker discussed his military service with the 24×7 during an interview earlier this month.
“Being in the military really was a life-changing experience,” Fein said. “It makes you grow up fast. It teaches you a lot about teamwork and doing your job. It’s kind of similar to football.
Everyone has to do their exact job. It’s the same thing in the military. The Army is the ultimate team, and that falls right in line with football. ..
"Football is a game, an important game. The military is life and death, but there are parallels. You work hard, you sweat, you get dirty. I have never forgotten that mentality because that’s what got me here. Being in the military let me know how important football was in my life. I want to make this time count, I want to make it last.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.