Crusader staff report
Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington is in jail after he was arrested on battery charges on Dec. 8, damaging his bid to become the next Lake County Clerk.
Two weeks ago, State Rep. Charlie Brown, who served more than three decades in the Indiana General Assembly, started his campaign for the seat in Washington’s 3rd District. Washington is running for Lake County Clerk, hoping to replace incumbent Michael A. Brown, who cannot run again due term limits.
With his arrest and history of problems, Washington may have damaged his political career as a self-destructing candidate with an unfavorable image.
According to court documents, a relative of Washington told Merrillville police that Washington, 44, threw her to the ground during a physical confrontation at a house in the 5600 block of Connecticut Street. In the affidavit, it stated that at 7:26 p.m., police were called to the house, and as the woman gathered her belongings and texted someone to pick her up, Washington started yelling at her “for being rude to him on the phone” earlier in the day.
According to the affidavit, Washington grabbed the woman’s phone without warning, but when the woman tried to retrieve it, the two started wrestling. During the tussle, the woman grabbed the phone and enraged Washington who “grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground,” as stated in the court documents. Within the documents, it also showed that during the incident, Washington threatened the woman with a sledgehammer.
Lake County prosecutors said Washington turned himself in on Dec. 8, the day of the alleged incident. He was charged with three counts of felony criminal confinement; two felony counts of intimidation; and one count of misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime.
Washington will remain in jail for two weeks before he can post bond. While the councilman remains behind bars, the Lake County Council stripped him of his committee post that addresses criminal justice and corrections on Dec.12.
The incident was the latest problem to cast Washington in an unfavorable light.
In 2015, he was charged with domestic battery and two counts of strangulation from an incident involving two women at his Merrillville home. Washington was sentenced to six months in jail, but the sentence was later substituted with a year of probation. In 2016, Washington was arrested for violating a protective order.
Court documents show that Washington was still on probation when he was arrested last Friday.