By Jim Williams


CHICAGO (CBS) — Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, after allegedly pushing and hitting his wife on New Year’s Eve.

Munoz, 53, was arrested at his ward office in Little Village on Wednesday, and charged with one misdemeanor count of domestic battery. Police said he got into an argument with his wife on New Year’s Eve, and pushed and struck her.

At a hearing at the Domestic Violence Courthouse on Thursday, Munoz pleaded not guilty, and a judge set his bond at $2,500, meaning he must pay $250 to be released from custody.

Ald. Munoz appears in court on a domestic violence charge. (Credit: Tom Gianni/CBS)

The judge also ordered Munoz not to contact his wife, Betty Torres Munoz, or his dog, Rambo. The order also prohibits Munoz from returning to their house without a police officer escorting him.

Because his wife is a Cook County employee who works in the County Building, Munoz can only enter adjacent City Hall through the LaSalle Street entrance.

After Thursday’s hearing, Munoz’s wife said the abuse has been going on for years, and she has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

“I’ve been with this man for 34 years, 30 years of marriage. I wish the very best. I have a lot of compassion. This has been going on a long time. Addiction, cheating – everything that goes with it. I didn’t come forward because of his public image and I didn’t want this. I’m entitled to my privacy. I finally came forward because I need a new life,” she said.

The alderman has admitted to being a recovering alcoholic. Munoz, who has been alderman of the 22nd Ward since 1993, is not running for re-election this year. Four candidates are running to replace him on the City Council.

Sources said Munoz was hoping for a job in Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s administration, but a spokesman for Pritzker’s transition team said it was never considering Munoz for a position, nor is he being considered now.