The Crusader Newspaper Group

Jamal Washington banned from City Council meetings

Officials aim to protect Sparks-Wade, who said argument over campaign issues spiraled into beatings and abuse

Crusader Staff Report

The Gary 411

Former Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington has been banned from attending Gary Common Council and committee meetings after he was arrested following an alleged domestic incident at a home that he shared with Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade.

The Gary Common Council on Tuesday, February 5, voted 6-0 to prohibit Washington from council proceedings after he was charged with five felonies and a misdemeanor after Sparks-Wade was injured in a domestic incident in the 3900 block of Martin Luther Drive. On January 30, officers from the Gary Police Dept. and the Lake County Sheriff responded to requests from individuals for a welfare check on a woman in the 3900 block of Martin Luther King Drive in Gary, who was being held against her will. Upon their arrival, the officers learned the address was the home of Gary City Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade.

Lake County Sheriff officers had detained Washington when Gary Police arrived. Councilwoman Sparks-Wade told police that Washington was her boyfriend and lived with her. Washington was arrested and held in police custody. On Monday, February 4, Washington appeared before Lake County Superior Court Judge Magistrate Kathleen Sullivan, who assigned him a public defender and ruled that Washington was an indigent defendant.  He will remain in custody until February 15, the earliest date the judge set for his $50,000 bail.

In the Probable Cause Affidavit, Sparks-Wade detailed how a discussion over campaign issues the day before had spiraled into beatings and abuse from Washington. Sparks-Wade is a candidate in the Gary mayoral race and Washington is running for an at-large seat on the Gary City Council.

Sparks-Wade stated that she and Washington both posted videos on social media on January 29 at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Both are active on Facebook, using the platform to replace the weekly radio program they once shared. Members of the Gary City Council and Lake County Council have had to become accustomed to having their meetings being posted live on Facebook.

Social media has become a major tool in each candidate’s political efforts and campaigns.

According to the affidavit, Washington became upset after reading the comments. She stated that Washington started calling several people regarding the comments.

In a phone conversation with her own campaign partner, Sparks-Wade said Washington took the phone and began arguing with her partner.

She stated that she attempted to take her phone back from Washington, but he refused. He then began to strike her several times with both hands on her back and head. When she turned around and away, Washington threw the cell phone at her, striking her in the lip area causing swelling and bleeding.

Sparks-Wade said she attempted to leave but Jamal stood in front of the door.

During the night, Sparks-Wade said she was afraid to leave even while Washington slept.

She stated every attempt she made to exit the room, Jamal would wake up. She attempted to call and text several people to let them know, but she was in fear of being killed if she got caught.

Sparks-Wade stated that Jamal told her that she was not going to work during the incident and she contacted her employer, calling off work.

She eventually got the courage to exit the bedroom and sent text messages to several people. Police arrived a short time later.

The councilwoman spoke about an incident of physical abuse from Washington that occurred in December 2018 that she didn’t report.

Gary Police and Lake County Sheriff officers and investigators found blood-like stains in the home’s bedroom and bathroom.

Washington didn’t seek re-election to the Lake County Council in 2018 after being censured by fellow members because of charges of domestic battery during his term on the council.

The Lake County Prosecutors Office has charged Washington with six misdemeanor and felony counts of confinement, domestic battery, and intimidation.


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