A neighborhood-level elected official in Ward 8 was arrested last Friday for threatening to kill the mother of his child and a fellow commission member in two separate incidents.
Kendall Simmons is listed as the chairperson for Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 8E and is a friend of Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White. Simmons was accused in 2017 of assaulting his girlfriend in a Maryland grocery store, and White posted his bail. Prosecutors opted not to pursue charges against Simmons in that case.
It’s unclear whether the alleged female victim from the 2017 incident is the same alleged female victim in Simmons’ arrest just a few days ago. He now faces one felony count and one misdemeanor in D.C. Superior Court. His address, according to records of the recent charges, is the same as White’s address in Southeast. That address is different than the one listed for Simmons on the ANC 8E website.
Simmons’ legal trouble began earlier this month, when he dropped off his kid with the alleged victim, the child’s mother, according to court records. Simmons left after the two got into an argument, but he later called the woman and threatened to kill her.
“On my mother, I am going to kill you,” Simmons told the woman, according to court records. “On Selena, I am going to kill you. I swear to Selena, I am going to kill you.”
Selena is apparently a reference to a friend named Selena, who was killed by her boyfriend, the woman told police. Court records reveal that officers reportedly heard Simmons say “Bitch I’ll kill your ass” over the phone.
A few days later, Simmons and fellow ANC member Christopher Hawthorne got into it over an apparently faulty election for ANC 8E’s chairperson. Simmons defeated Hawthorne for the position in early January, but the vote didn’t count, Hawthorne says, because a non-voting member participated.
The two men nearly came to blows over the issue after another ANC meeting in January.
“You know that if you would have got on my bad side, I would shoot you in the head,” Simmons reportedly said to Hawthorne after the meeting. “I don’t care nothing about your family.”
“I said ‘There’s nothing but space and opportunity between us right now. When you talk that street nonsense, now I’m ready to defend myself,’” Hawthorne recalls. “‘If you come up on me again, I’m going to defend myself. But when I start throwing those punches, they’re not gonna stop until there’s no more life in you.’”
Witnesses told police that Simmons went to his vehicle to retrieve a weapon, or at least make it look like he was doing so, and the two men had to be separated outside the meeting, according to court records.
Hawthorne says he headed to Player’s Lounge on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE to cool down after the confrontation, and Simmons followed. Another small argument ensued, and Simmons implied he would be back with more people, Hawthorne says. Apparently Simmons never returned.
Court records show that Hawthorne talked with White about the incident. During that conversation, Hawthorne tells LL, White tried to arrange a meeting to resolve the issues and said Simmons can sometimes be “hot off the handle, but if you get on his bad side, something can happen.”
Hawthorne took offense to White’s suggestion that “something can happen.”
“You’re councilmember to both of us,” he says. “You’re telling me I should be afraid?”
White says that he didn’t witness the feud and doesn’t know all the details.
“[Hawthorne] and I spoke about bringing all parties together to figure out what we can do for [the] sake of peace to refocus on community concerns,” White writes via text message. “We should get Hawthorne on a 3 way call right now, because when we spoke he was in agreement.”
Simmons has been released on his own recognizance, according to his lawyer, Gretchen Franklin.
“He is innocent, and we are looking forward to our day in court,” she says, declining to comment further.