Salisbury councilwoman faces assault charge

A hearing is scheduled in state District Court on Monday, Sept. 18, for Salisbury City Councilwoman April Jackson, who was charged Sunday with second-degree assault.

The first-term District 1 council member was charged after an incident at the Billy Gene Jackson Park off Lake Street. The county park is named for Jackson’s late father, a prominent community leader.

An altercation allegedly occurred while the annual “Day At The Park” event, which Jackson promotes and attends, was under way at the park.

According to the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, an argument began at the park after an unidentified woman there asked 23-year-old Jarenea Janise Mitchell of Salisbury to leave, after seeing a fight with others in attendance.

When the woman asked Mitchell to leave, Mitchell allegedly hit the woman in the face, according to a report issued by the Sheriff’s Office. Mitchell was charged on Monday.

The woman who asked Mitchell to leave “was trying to prevent a further escalation,” the Sheriff’s Office report states.

Jackson’s name is not in the report, but the day and time of the incident coincide with information on the the state’s Case Search website, where Jackson’s name, charges and court date are posted.

Mitchell is listed as the complainant in the assault charge levied against Jackson.

Jackson, who was elected in November 2015, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Mitchell was in the Wicomico County Detention Center on $15,000 bail, charged with second-degree assault, disturbing the peace and affray, according to the report.

City Council President Jack Heath said Friday that he was aware of the incident, but refused to comment on specifics.

He said a council member can continue serving when charged with a crime and awaiting a hearing. The assault charge is a misdemeanor.

Heath said members can only be removed as part of an election recall, and that a City Council member can’t be ousted by his or her council peers.

This is the second time in four months that Jackson has been at the center of controversy. In April, referring to President Trump, she posted on her Facebook page, “Ya’alls President is retarded … He’s far pass the Holly Center.”

A flurry of negative comments resulted, with many calling for her resignation.

At the next City Council meeting, she tearfully apologized, saying, “I am standing here this evening to publicly apologize for offending the intellectually disabled. I never meant to hurt anyone.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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