I’m sorry… an alleged drug-dealing murderer.
Some stories you couldn’t even make up if you tried.
On Friday, East Chicago, Ind., councilman Robert Battle was sworn into office for a second term. This time around, though, the event was a rather low-key event. Instead of the mayor conducting the ceremony, it was an “unnamed official,” according to the Chicago Tribune. And instead of City Hall, the venue was the county jail.
The inside of the county jail.
The councilman is currently behind bars on multiple felony charges. And while he certainly isn’t the first politician to face legal trouble, he does face quite the uphill battle, so to speak.It’s not often, after all, that an elected official is accused of murdering a man in cold blood during a drug deal. Battle has pleaded not guilty. But the gruesome alleged crime is causing serious problems for his party.
Democratic officials in Lake County, Ind., just across the border from Illinois, find themselves facing an unusual problem. Their headache stems not from their candidate failing to get elected, but rather from him refusing to resign. “I can’t remember a situation like this,” Sheriff John Buncich, chair of the Lake County Democratic Central Committee, told the Tribune in November, when Battle was reelected just a few weeks after being charged with murder and drug dealing. “It’s wrong for the taxpayers, wrong for our party.”
How could something like this happen in northwest Indiana?
… Battle ran unopposed, winning with just 308 votes in a city of about 30,000 people.
Some citizens are so entrenched in their political parties that they care more about the party banner than the actual person running for office under it.
We have to wake up as a society and start paying attention to what’s happening in our government, whether it’s local, state, or federal. The health of our representative democracy relies upon an engaged and informed citizenry. When people stop caring and showing up, government goes to whoever seizes the power, regardless of whether they are good or bad.