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Ald. Ricardo Munoz charged in domestic violence incident

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd). | Sun-Times

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd). | Sun-Times

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) on Wednesday was charged in a domestic violence incident involving his wife on New Year’s Eve, authorities said.

Munoz was taken into custody earlier Wednesday at his Little Village neighborhood ward office, 2500 S. St. Louis Ave., according police.

Sometime on Monday, Munoz was involved in an argument with his wife when he “pushed and struck the victim throughout the body,” police said.

Munoz was charged with one misdemeanor count of domestic battery and was due to appear in court on Thursday morning, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Munoz’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The New Year’s Eve incident is only the latest in a string of controversies to surround Munoz from the outset of his a 25-year City Council career.

In 1993, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley took a chance on Munoz, then a 27-year-old with a checkered past.

Munoz was “affiliated” with a gang that terrorized Little Village. He was hanging out on street corners, a self-described “neighborhood thug and hustler.” Three times, Munoz had plead guilty to charges of cocaine possession or unlawful use of a weapon.

He had the kind of background that surely would have landed him on the Chicago Police Department’s gang database.

Munoz would later fight back against a gang database he claimed was unfairly destroying the reputations and futures of neighborhood youth just like he was.

Two days after announcing his decision to retire from the City Council, Munoz introduced an ordinance that would prohibit the Chicago Police Department from designating individual gang member and maintaining a gang database unless Inspector General Joe Ferguson “concludes that CPD’s gang designations have a legitimate law enforcement-related purpose that outweighs the harm cause to individuals” so labeled.

The designations would also have to be “verified in accordance with professionally accepted standards and regularly audited” and be “free from racial discrimination.”

Those included on the list would have to “receive notice and opportunity to challenge their designation. And CPD would be “prohibited from sharing gang designations” or information contained in the database with any third party.

Until the City Council enacts those protections, the Chicago Police Department would be prohibited from adding to the existing gang database or sharing information with third parties.

“Thirty-five years ago, when I was hanging out, I would have been on that list. Not as a gang member, but just as somebody from the neighborhood,” Munoz said on the day he introduced the ordinance.

“I’m concerned about them labeling people and destroying them. I’m doing this because too many people on that list shouldn’t be on it. It has to do with the neighborhood I represent and the fact that the list is unfair. And it has to do with the fact that people should have the ability to appeal and get off the list.”

In 2009, Munoz’ father was sentenced to four years in prison for participating in a ring that produced and distributed fake ID’s.

One year later, the alderman acknowledged having used his political clout to help a relative gain admission to a selective enrollment high school.

Six months before the 2011 aldermanic election, Munoz declared himself an alcoholic and said he had checked himself into an outpatient rehab clinic.

At the time, Munoz declared that the “disease” of alcoholism has “affected every aspect of my life…It affected me professionally, socially and at home. That’s why I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t continue it and needed help.”

Asked then about the potential impact on his political future, Munoz said, “There’s no real good time to deal with this…My motivation right now is to protect my sobriety and my family. Everything after that? Hey, God’s will.”