Councilmember Trayon White
Councilmember Trayon White

A small social media fire began last week when cell phone video emerged of ANC 8E 04 Commissioner Kendall Simmons being wrestled, restrained, and handcuffed on the ground. He was eventually taken into custody in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on charges of assaulting his girlfriend in a grocery store.

According to public records, Simmons was charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct and jailed early last week. But by mid-week, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White had posted the surety bond for Simmons.

“I have always supported this young man, but I don’t condone abuse by anyone,” White wrote to CP via text message. “I spoke to the girlfriend, and the news story and her story don’t match. I don’t disown anyone, because at the end of the day he is still God’s child. He is entitle[d] to his day in court.”

Which is scheduled for the morning of July 13 at Prince George’s County District Court.

After sending his comment, White then sent the mugshot image of a young Malcolm Little with lazy eyes. “You know him?” White wrote. He then sent an image of a reformed Malcolm X with a stern and serious countenance. “Redemption,” White added.

Kendall Simmons

Reaction from constituents in ANC 8E and throughout Ward 8 was one of both disbelief and support.

“For a Councilmember who serves in the District’s poorest ward with a high rate of domestic violence to bail out a friend accused in Maryland of domestic violence doesn’t bode well for victims’ rights in the District, or the region,” says Ronald Williams Jr., a native Washingtonian and political strategist and activist in Ward 8. “It sounds bad. It’s sad. It’s a slap in the face to his supporters and the women of Ward 8.”

Says Sandra “S.S.” Seegars, a former longtime commissioner of 8E and former candidate for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat, “Kendall is my commissioner now. If he is having any issues right now, he needs to get some help. Whether he is guilty or not, that is up to the courts to decide.”

Seegars says Simmons has never given her any indication that he is anything but an upstanding young man. “He’s always been polite and cordial with me. Very mannerly. I really don’t have problems with any of these young guys.”

But,  says local political consultant Aaron McCormick, “The councilmen set a precedent on a topic [that] is very important to ladies, and that is domestic violence. He should have remained neutral by not providing the bail for this ANC member.