Head of CeaseFire Illinois Charged With Battery

Police said Tio Hardiman was arrested after his wife "presented injuries"

The head of an anti-violence organization reportedly claimed Sunday that he's innocent of the domestic violence charge he's facing after he was arrested Friday for allegedly becoming violent with his wife.

Tio Hardiman, 50, said he was innocent and that he had a spiritual awakening during his time at Cook County Jail, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

He said he has been with his wife for 13 years and "never had a problem like this", the Sun-Times reported.

Suburban Chicago police said the head of Ceasefire Illinois faces a misdemeanor domestic battery charge and will appear again in court in Maywood on Tuesday.

Hillside Police Chief Joseph Lukaszek said Hardiman was arrested Friday after his wife came to the police station and "presented injuries."

Prosecutors alleged Saturday that Hardiman's wife was struck in the head, back, neck, face and torso.

They also noted that Hardiman had a "prior history" with his first wife nearly 12 years ago.

Hardiman was released on $20,000 bond Saturday night.

"The only thing I can say is that the verdict is still out," Hardiman said Saturday. "We're going to do our best to bounce back from this situation."

He also said he learned a lot during his two-day stay in the Cook County jail, claiming that there is a need to educate people on the "detriments involved with domestic violence."

Hardiman is the executive director of Ceasefire Illinois, a violence prevention group that interacts with Chicago gang members.

Lukaszek said Hardiman was arrested at his home Friday.

Ceasefire Illinois released a statement Saturday stating the Hardiman was put on administrative leave.

"We are deeply concerned about all acts – or potential acts of violence, but we are especially saddened when it might happen within our community or family," the statement read. "We understand that violence is a disease, and the alleged incident is a reminder of how prevalent this problem is. Family violence in particular is a very serious public health problem, not only for damage to families, but also because of potential effects on neighborhoods. That is why we at CeaseFire work so hard to stop violence before it starts, and to change attitudes in the communities."

CeaseFire was featured in the 2011 documentary "The Interrupters" and got $1 million from Chicago to work with police to reduce crime in two violence-plagued neighborhoods.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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