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CeaseFire Director: 'I Am Innocent Until Proven Guilty' of Domestic Abuse

By Wendell Hutson | June 2, 2013 8:07pm | Updated on June 3, 2013 8:06am
 Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois, said he loves his wife and wants to reunite with her. He was charged with domestic battery last week.
Tio Hardiman Arrested
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CHICAGO —After spending two days in jail, Tio Hardiman said he had a lot of time to think about his future and the misdemeanor domestic battery charges filed against him last week.

"All I want to do is at this point is move on and continue doing the work I have been doing — and that's stopping the violence," Hardiman told DNAinfo.com Chicago. "My wife and I have been together for a long time, so I am confident we will get past this ordeal. I love her and I know she still loves me."

Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois, an anti-violence nonprofit organization, lives in west suburban Hillside with his wife, Alison. The couple have no children and have been married for 13 years, Hardiman said.

Hardiman was arrested Friday at his home after his wife came to the police station and reported that she had been beaten by him, police said.

"I am innocent until proven guilty," Hardiman said in an interview Sunday when asked if he hit his wife.

On Saturday, Hardiman appeared in bond court where Cook County prosecutors said he punched and kicked his wife and bruised her lip after a verbal argument.

After hearing from prosecutors and a public defender, which represented Hardiman, a judge set his bond at $20,000, which Hardiman later posted to be released from Cook County Jail.

"I got mad love at the county. I was not in protective custody, and a lot of the young brothers said they looked up to me," Hardiman said. "One of them even told me I was like a father figure to him. That really got me thinking about Tio Hardiman, the person, and how my arrest must be a disappointment to a lot of the young cats."

Alison Hardiman, who was unavailable for comment, is seeking an order of protection against her husband and will see him in court Tuesday for the first time since the incident, when Hardiman said he may be free to talk more about what "really happened."

This is not the first time Hardiman has been charged with domestic battery.

"I was married before, and in 1999 I was charged with domestic battery against my ex-wife. The key word here is I was charged," said Hardiman, who said he could not recall the outcome of the case. "That happened so long ago, I really don't remember what the outcome was, but it's public record, so you could probably look it up."

Ferdinand Serpe, an attorney representing Alison Hardiman, said Saturday after court that Hardiman should step down as director of CeaseFire. He reportedly has been placed on leave from the organization, which last year received a $1 million contract from the city to put its violence interrupters to work.

Citing advice from his attorney, Hardiman declined to discuss his future with CeaseFire .

"Right now my focus is on Tio and Alison Hardiman and repairing our marriage," Hardiman said.