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Former CeaseFire Director's Wife Drops Domestic Violence Charges

MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) -- Former CeaseFire director Tio Hardiman's wife has dropped the domestic violence charges that led to his ouster from the nationally-renowned violence prevention group.

At a hearing in Maywood, Hardiman's wife said she loves her husband and did not want to proceed with the case against him.

In charging him with domestic battery, prosecutors had alleged Hardiman punched and kicked his wife at their home in west suburban Hillside in May, leaving her with cuts and bruises. Hardiman denied ever laying a hand on his wife.

"I want to make it clear I love my wife, and that's a reality, and I hope we can reconcile and take care of our business," Hardiman said after leaving court on Tuesday. "I love my wife, and we're a solid couple, and we're going to do the best we can to make a comeback."

Hardiman's Wife Drops Charges

He said he hopes to be able to revive his career now that the charges have been dropped.

"I plan to take on the NRA, because somebody needs to tell the NRA to shut up, because you've got too many kids being killed by semi-automatic weapons across the United States," he said. "I plan to take on the prison-industrial complex, because somewhere along the way I think we need to take a look at expanding the prison cell size, because you're stacking guys in these penitentiaries two guys to a cell that's only meant to hold one person."

After a previous court appearance, Hardiman blamed his wife's attorney and former sister-in-law for convincing her to press charges.

After Hardiman's ouster from CeaseFire, chief operating officer Dr. Candice Kane took over day-to-day operations, and Cure Violence national training director Jalon Arthur took over some of Hardiman's former duties.

CeaseFire's parent group, Cure Violence, dumped Hardiman from his post as CeaseFire's director days after his May arrest, citing a zero-tolerance policy toward domestic violence charges, which they said Hardiman helped implement.

Court records show Hardiman pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor count of domestic battery for beating his now ex-wife. Cure Violence officials have said they were unaware of that earlier conviction until after Hardiman's arrest in May.

Hardiman had spent more than 13 years with CeaseFire, and became its director in 2008. The group tries to simmer down tensions between street gangs to avoid having disputes escalate into shootings.

It was unclear if CeaseFire planned to rehire Hardiman now that he no longer faces criminal charges.

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