Anthony "Tony" Fein, a former Iraq War veteran who is trying to make the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie backup linebacker, was charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer stemming from an incident at an Inner Harbor restaurant Sunday night.
Police went to Johnny Rockets restaurant at 301 Light St. after receiving a report from Inner Harbor security officers about a group of men passing around a large, silver object suspected of being a firearm, but which turned out to be a cellular phone, said Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman.
When officers approached the group of men, who were seated at a counter, they demanded that Fein stand up, but he refused, according to a police report. When Fein stood up after being asked to do so for a second time, police said he shoved an officer in the chest and was immediately arrested.
Fein, 27, was not in possession of a handgun, according to police. The cellular phone that security spotted was large, square and metallic.
The three men with Fein, who police would not identify, left the scene, according to Guglielmi.
Fein, who played at the University of Mississippi, was processed Sunday night in Central Booking.
"Like all citizens, Tony will get his due process and have his opportunity to explain. There are two sides to every story," Kevin Byrne, Ravens vice president of public and community relations, said in a statement released by the team late Sunday.
According to the police report, Fein made eye contact with the police officer, Sgt. Joseph Donato, and then reached for the silver object. Donato yelled for Fein to show his hands, but instead Fein pushed Donato, which resulted in the police officer hurting his elbow, the report said.
"People can't be jerks at the Inner Harbor," said Guglielmi during a news conference Sunday night. "There is no need to make a scene."
Fein has no prior arrests, police said.
Security at the Inner Harbor has been on high alert in the wake of recent violent incidents, including an Aug. 15 gang-related shooting near the Phillips Seafood restaurant that left two young men wounded.
In late spring, random assaults linked to youths roving downtown, including the Inner Harbor, prompted police to add three-dozen officers to the area. Some violence was attributed to suspected gang activity.
The Ravens ended training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster this weekend. They face the New York Jets tonight at 8 at M&T Bank Stadium in the second exhibition game.
Although old for a rookie, Fein, at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, caught the eyes of scouts at Mississippi's Pro Day, where the school's football players audition for scouts before the NFL draft. The Ravens drafted Michael Oher, an offensive tackle from Mississippi, with their first pick this past April, and signed fullback Jason Cook as another undrafted free agent from the school.
Fein served for a year in Iraq as a 19 Delta recon scout. As a recon scout, Fein told The Baltimore Sun earlier this month, "you're the eyes and ears of the commander."
He has also been shot at and had to deal with roadside bombs, he said.
"You're out there assessing what the enemy has, the capabilities, the numbers and stuff like that," Fein said. "Football gets tough, with the heat and physical demands. But at least I know I'm going to be alive today. And tomorrow."
Fein played quarterback and linebacker at South Kitsap High in Port Orchard, Wash. After graduation, he worked as a roofer for a year before joining the Army to make money for college. He served for 3 1/2 years. When he got out, he played football at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. He earned a scholarship to Ole Miss, where he finished second on the team in tackles his junior year. He went on to win the Pat Tillman Patriot Award, which is given to a football player who also saw military action.
During his senior year at Ole Miss, Fein and the Rebels' new coach, Houston Nutt, had a disagreement, supposedly over a run-in Fein had with the academic staff. He had to earn his way back from the bottom of the depth chart, but had a strong second-half of the season, finishing with 52 tackles to rank third on the team. He also had a key tackle in the Rebels' upset win over top-ranked Florida.
Although he knows he's likely a long shot to make the Ravens - he's listed fourth on the depth chart at strongside linebacker - Fein told The Baltimore Sun he has cherished his opportunity with the team. In the Ravens' first exhibition game on Aug. 13 against the Washington Redskins, Fein had a solo special teams tackle.
"It's just been a great experience, with Ray Lewis here and being around [Terrell] Suggs and guys of that caliber," Fein said. "It's just a dream come true, really. To be out here to compete and ... learn with some of the best football players of the world."