Jamal Washington

Jamal Washington


Wrongs can't be righted if people aren't willing to acknowledge the transgressions and push back.

That push-back has been happening in recent weeks in the case of convicted wife batterer and Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington.

Four Region leaders, one of whom is a state lawmaker, have taken a vocal lead against Washington's actions, his ability to hold public office, and other county government leaders who have elevated Washington to higher authority despite his recent guilty plea to misdemeanor battery against his wife.

Lake County Republican Party Treasurer Andy Qunell and Indiana House Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, deserve praise for, in some ways, crossing their respective party lines to stand up for what's right.

Lake County Council President Ted Bilski and Councilwoman Christine Cid deserve credit for initiating a push to strip Washington of his newly acquired council vice president status.

On Thursday, Brown issued a public letter to The Times, admonishing Washington to resign his County Council post.

Brown was right when he dubbed as "repulsive" Washington's battery plea and the councilman's subsequent elevation to the post of Lake County Council vice president a month after the guilty plea.

Beyond his duties as a lawmaker in the Indiana Statehouse, Brown also is a constituent of Washington's county council district. He has every right to criticize and verbally call for Washington's resignation.

We're glad Brown is lending his voice to this chorus. The Times Editorial Board has repeatedly called for Washington's resignation in past editorials, and we renew that call now.

Qunell also spoke publicly about Washington's battery case and subsequent election to vice president by the Lake County Council earlier this month on his Lake County GOP radio show.

Though he believes Washington should resign, Qunell also called for the resignation of one of his party members, Republican Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong.

Strong broke with party lines recently, essentially serving as the swing vote to elect Washington as the council's vice president.

Qunell rightly criticizes Strong for selling his vote to Washington in exchange for future favorable votes for south county road funding and possibly other endeavors.

Strong clearly traded political expediency for common decency, and it's refreshing that a member of his own party is publicly decrying the move.

On Friday, the chorus grew.

Lake County Council President Bilski, who voted against Washington's vice president nod, and Cid announced plans to revisit and strip Washington's vice president status.

Cid, who initially voted in favor of Washington's vice presidential status, had the courage to reconsider that move after further considering the domestic violence issues at stake.

Bilski said he believes there is enough support on the council to remove Washington from the vice president's post.

"We can't compel him to resign from the council, but we don't have to elevate him," Bilski said of Washington.

Bilski and Cid may not need to make the motion. Washington told The Times Friday he intends to step down from his vice presidential role — but not from his council seat.

He should do both.

These types of public stances prompting Washington to step aside should be supported by anyone whose stomach turns at the prospect of an elected official continuing to hold sway over government after admitting in court to battering his wife.

On social media, Washington has claimed he’s being bullied in the calls for his resignation.

The only bullying that occurred in this matter was the battery Washington admitted to in court.

It's the sort of behavior decent people shouldn't tolerate of anyone, much less an elected official.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.