Jermaine Reed unhappy with appointment of Ashanti Hamilton to head city’s Office of Violence Prevention
The chairperson of the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has announced his resignation.
Jermaine Reed said on Facebook he was leaving the position because of Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s appointment of Ashanti Hamilton as director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP).
“Appointing an individual who has admitted to using physical violence towards their child to oversee an office that leads violence prevention for the city is not violence prevention nor is it an act of accountability,” Reed wrote.
Reed met with WISN 12 News on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, following his resignation.
“When I think about my personal and professional values and principles, I cannot work under or work in tandem with an individual or administration that clearly has come out and said, ‘We really do not put a high stake and value on child safety and well being,'” Reed said.
In 2009, Hamilton, who was a Milwaukee alderman, admitted to hitting his 6-year-old daughter with a plastic hanger.
“Responsible parenting requires a parent to engage in discipline. I chose the form of discipline that was not wise,” Hamilton said at the time.
He entered a no-contest plea in court in 2009.
The judge ruled if he stayed out of trouble for a year, the felony child abuse charge would be dropped, which it was.
In a press conference on Monday, August 15, 2022, Hamilton addressed the 2009 child abuse case.
“(It was) a reality that I had to go through. A learning experience that I had to grow through and I think we bring our life experiences to every position that we take,” Hamilton said. “I brought that experience to my representation of the first aldermanic district. I brought that growth to understanding how to help families and I will bring that to this position. I think that there are many people in our community that thought like I thought in that time period, but I’ve satisfied everything that was necessary of that. My family is successful in growing and I think I can help families grow through that as well.”
Reed said he doesn’t think Hamilton’s growth behind the scenes is enough to let him lead an office dedicated to preventing violence.
“I don’t believe in my heart that he’s continued to be abusive to his child. It probably was a turning point in his life,” Reed said. “What I’m saying is from 2009 to 2022, where have you been visibly at? What platforms, what spaces have you created or have you joined to say, ‘Hey, I am now an advocate of supporting child safety and well being’.”
Hamilton is replacing Arnitta Holliman, who was recently fired as director of OVP.