Former Ald. Ricardo Muñoz led the 22nd Ward until 2019. Credit: Ted Cox/DNAinfo

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CHICAGO — Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) pleaded not guilty Thursday to attacking wife Betty Torrez-Muñoz on New Year’s Eve after spending the night in jail.

The alderman was released after posting a $2,500 bond. Torrez-Muñoz was granted an order of protection against her husband after telling the court Muñoz “‘forcibly’ grabbed and pushed her, causing her to fall and hit her back and head as well as twist her left arm” and had been drinking all day before the incident.

Muñoz has been open about his struggles with alcohol. When he told NBC5’s Carol Marin the news of his retirement, he said he revealed his alcoholism eight years ago in an effort to take “alcoholism and mental health out of the shadow.”

Torrez-Muñoz told reporters the abuse was not new.

“This has been going on a long time,” she said. “Addiction, cheating — everything that goes with it. I didn’t come forward because of his public image. I finally came forward because I needed a life.”

Muñoz, who had planned to retire in May at the end of his term on the City Council, is the most senior member of the Progressive Caucus. Other members of the caucus released a statement Thursday saying they were “deeply troubled” by his arrest.

“Domestic violence is never acceptable behavior, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Muñoz family during this difficult time. We are hopeful that Ald. Muñoz will be able to receive the help he needs.”

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, please call The National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).”

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