December 12, 2017-The Gazette has exclusively obtained the video above which purports to be from the night of December 5, 2017 during a domestic incident which forms the basis of multiple felony charges against Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington. It is important to note that the one minute video was sent to us anonymously and we cannot verify its authenticity. It portrays only a small glimpse of what happened in Washington’s home on December 5, 2017. We thought it important to share together with information from the Probable Cause Affidavit filed in the case based on the severity of the charges and the public interest in the case. The video is one of two videos taken during the night in question.
Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington is facing up to 16 years in prison after his cousin, who was living in his home, alleged that he confined her using a sledge hammer and choked her. Washington is charged with:
35-42-3-3(FB) Criminal Confinement Felony Level 3
35-42-3-3(FC) Criminal Confinement Felony Level 5
35-45-2-1(A)(1)(C) Intimidation Felony Level 5
35-45-2-1(A)(2)(B)2 FD: Intimidation Felony Level 6
35-42-3-3(FD) Criminal Confinement Felony Level 6
35-42-2-1(A)(1)(A) MA: Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury Class A Misdemeanor
35-45-2-5 MA: Interference with the Reporting of a Crime Class A Misdemeanor
35-42-2-1 Battery Class B Misdemeanor
According to Indiana Law, confinement becomes a level 3 felony if the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon. In this case, the victim stated “she pleaded with [Washington] to let her leave but he refused” and that “she said she was held against her will for over two hours during this incident and at about 7 p.m. Washington left the residence at which time she was able to flee to a neighbor’s house.” The victim stated that Washington “became enraged, grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground.”
The video above, begins with Washington asking the victim to leave the house. The victim replies “you just choked me and threw me on the ground.” Notably, she does not mention a sledge hammer. Washington responds, “you know that didn’t happen” and again asks the victim to leave. The victim repeats the allegation that Washington choked her and threw her on the ground and Washington again asks her to leave.
The video appears to have been shot during the two hour time period during which the victim originally claimed to police that she was unlawfully confined. It is important to note that the State is not required to prove that the victim was confined for two hours. Confinement for any period of time is sufficient to form the basis of the charge if a deadly weapon is used. Nonetheless, the probable cause affidavit makes clear that the victim first reported she only escaped when Washington left the house. The victim later recanted her statement to police-a fact which is now undisputed but was first denied by Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter. The victim did not report the crime until 24 hours after the incident and no statements from the neighbor, other relatives, or co-workers were included in the sworn affidavit filed by police.
Additionally, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed that no sledge hammer was recovered during a search of Washington’s home. A hammer was seized from the basement of the home.
You can see the full probable cause affidavit filed in the case by clicking the images below: