The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Alderman investigated for abuse

  • Alderman Ashanti Hamilton turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday night.
  • He was under investigation for alleged child abuse of his 6-year-old daughter.
  • Hamilton released a statement March 25 asking for family's privacy.

On Tuesday night, Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton turned himself in to the Milwaukee County Jail and was released on suspicion of child abuse of his 6-year-old daughter, according to his attorney Michael Chernin.

Chernin said Hamilton, 35, admitted last week to striking one of his four daughters because he said she was misbehaving.

He also said Hamilton was not technically arrested, but allowed himself to be fingerprinted by police.

Chernin said an investigation is ongoing on both sides, and the office of District Attorney John T. Chisholm was working on the case.

"The DA is kind of driving the train," Chernin said. "Overall, though, Alderman Hamilton is a really nice and good individual and we hate to see him and his family go through this."

The alderman, who has represented Milwaukee's 1st District since 2000, responded to allegations by releasing a statement March 25. He has not been able to comment further since.

"I am deeply saddened that my parenting skills and motives have been called into question," Hamilton wrote.

"State law requires social workers and medical personnel to report claims of harm to children," he wrote. "A spanking can be alleged to be such a cause of harm."

Kent Lovern, chief deputy district attorney, said there was a good chance new information would be released this week.

"The matter is currently under review by our office, and no decision has been made on the matter," Lovern said. "We're in the process of gathering more information."

He said Friday he hopes by next week to be closer to a decision.

"I think Wednesday was a fair estimate, and we might not have a decision but will know more," Lovern said.

The Milwaukee Police Department had also been involved with the case as criminal matters within city-elected officials go through a special division of MPD, said spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz.

"Milwaukee Police Department's Professional Performance Division is handling the case, as Hamilton is a city-elected official," Schwartz said. She could not comment further than that.

While Hamilton could not elaborate on specifics within the statement, he did say he felt most sorry that his children were being exposed to media reports.

"I am disappointed in the public spotlight being put on my children — minors who would otherwise be protected by confidentiality rules meant to protect further harm," he wrote.

"As a public figure, nothing can shield me or my family from this scrutiny, otherwise there would be whispers of preferential treatment," he added.

Hamilton ended the statement by asking for his family "to be granted the privacy it deserves during this difficult time."

Bill Arnold, a spokesman from the Milwaukee Common Council, said matters related to this case were those of the District Attorney's office.

"There are no Council members who would be willing to weigh in at this point with comments," he said. "However, it is possible somewhere down the line that Council President Willie Hines will issue a statement."

Hamilton is divorced with four daughters. Only hours before these allegations broke, a proposal, of which Hamilton was the primary sponsor, passed in the Common Council.

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