A Message for the People of Vallejo from the Family of Chana Brown

The brother in law of Chana Brown feels the need to clarify some of the lies and false statements made by Councilman Hakeem Brown over the last two weeks.


Lie #1:

“This was a one-time incident 20 years ago – just a ‘domestic scuffle.” 


According to court records, Hakeem Brown physically abused Joanna Cullom throughout their relationship, not just “one time.”   He was twice convicted of domestic violence offenses against her culminating in a four year prison sentence after punching her repeatedly in the stomach when she was pregnant, according to her testimony.   Ms. Cullom believes she miscarried her baby because of Mr. Brown’s abuse.


This wasn’t Mr. Brown’s first time abusing a woman, as prosecutors have alleged and was reported in the Open Vallejo article:

  • June 1994:  Mr. Brown pushed a woman to the floor and kicked her in the chest.

  • January 1995:  Mr. Brown punched a woman in the mouth and threatened to get a gun

  • January 2001:  Mr. Brown punched through a window of a woman’s house

  • March 2001:  Mr. Brown punched a girlfriend in the face and torso

Lie #2:

“This is my past; I am a changed man.” 

Hakeem Brown’s aggression and intimidation against women continue to this very day.  Voices of Vallejo posted testimony from 8 additional women that had run-ins with Mr. Brown from 2016 to the present on their website.   Mr. Brown has documented domestic violence cases through 2012, which is just 8 years ago, when Hakeem was 37 years old, - not a young man as he keeps claiming. 


According to court records, Mr. Brown has failed to pay child support and rear his own 4 children, while claiming to be extremely wealthy and a mentor to Vallejo’s youth.


 In 2018, he had a public spectacle of a wedding; however, Mr. Brown was knowingly married to 2 other women at that time.  A wedding I am sure some of you reading this attended.  Mr. Brown’s second wife asked for an annulment on the grounds of bigamy in the mid-2000s. 


How can this man speak about “empowering women” and advocate for our youth?   Mr. Brown’s silence on these misdeeds is deafening.   You must ask yourself if Mr. Brown’s recent altruism was done out of the goodness of his heart or rather was it to gain political capital or to provide cover if his violent history was ever revealed to the public.

Lie #3:

“The 2012 allegations against me are false and unsubstantiated, that’s why the case was dismissed.”


To the contrary, Chana Brown’s claims of emotional, physical, and sexual violence are very much substantiated by overwhelming evidence, which can be found In the documentation Open Vallejo carefully curated.  Under oath, a police deputy called Mr. Brown’s crimes against Chana as “domestic violence bordering on torture”.   Chana said Mr. Brown:

  • Choked her unconscious multiple times

  • Punched her so hard in the head, she said had some permanent hearing loss

  • Forced her to have sex against her will

  • Abused her while she was both pregnant and while holding his baby

The violence was so extensive and so frequent, there isn’t enough space to include all the horrific acts from her sworn statements to two different police departments.

The case, a total of 12 charges, was dismissed because Chana Brown stopped cooperating and coincidently, Mr. Brown pled guilty to violating a restraining order.  I think we can all connect the dots.  According to Chana, she dropped the case because Mr. Brown threatened to kill her and her family.  


Mr. Brown wants you to believe everyone else is lying, Chana, her family, cops in both California and New Jersey, other victims, and only he is telling the truth.  However, how does Mr. Brown have any credibility left considering he recently held a sham wedding and called punching a woman 5 times in the stomach a “domestic scuffle”?  Mr. Brown has said on the campaign trail that we need to “trust black women”, however now he says you can’t trust any of the black women he had relationships with.


Lie #4:

 “I hold myself fully accountable for my actions.”  


On October 11th, October 15th, October 20th and October 21st, 2020, Mr. Brown both insinuated and explicitly stated that his victims were either exaggerating or lying - a baffling position based on the court recorded evidence.  That is a far cry from being accountable – if anything that is the exact opposite of accepting responsibility.   Those are the actions of someone doing damage control.   These are the actions of someone who is only remorseful that his darkness came to light, as Mr. Brown stated to the San Francisco Chronicle: “If [the people of Vallejo] were aware of my record, do you think I would have won?” 


Mr. Brown has never asked his victims what justice means to them; he has never reached out to us, never apologized.  Rather, he tells us, his victims, what justice means to him.  Mr. Brown only cares about himself and all his current actions are evidence of that – he continually tries to play the victim. 


On Tuesday (10/20), he had the audacity to compare himself to Maya Angelou on Facebook; an odd choice, considering she was a domestic violence survivor.  On Wednesday (10/21), he told the NAACP he wants to put this behind him.  That’s nice that he wants to put this all in the past, but what about the victims who still lay awake crying and have depression and PTSD to this very day because of his abuse. 


Mr. Brown, his supporters, and his enablers keep asking for compassion for Mr. Brown, which is insulting, hurtful, and tone deaf, while also simultaneously minimizing the pain of his victims.  Where is their compassion for the women he abused?  The trauma of domestic violence, especially the horrific acts that Mr. Brown committed, don’t end the day these women escape.   However, Mr. Brown keeps telling everyone to move on and move forward because that is best for Hakeem Brown.


Conclusion: Hakeem Brown has 9 arrests and 3 convictions for violence against a total of 5 women over 3 decades; he isn’t asking for a second chance; he is asking for a 10th.  I believe in restorative justice and turning over a new leaf, but Mr. Brown has not even taken the first step to repair the harm caused by his crimes.   He keeps saying he has, but those are just empty words, as his actions say otherwise.  If Mr. Brown wants to make a positive impact on the great city of Vallejo; he can spend his future days volunteering to make the community a better place - he doesn’t need to be a mayor or a council member to do that.


It’s honestly disheartening that I have to write this letter, that I have to justify my family’s pain; and frankly I don’t understand why it’s a tough choice for certain organizations to end their association with an unrepentant abuser of women.   Endorsing and supporting, Mr. Brown is condoning and normalizing domestic violence make no mistake about that.


 Carefully crafted statements can be released saying otherwise, but that’s exactly what is being done.  You can either support Hakeem Brown or support Joanna, Chana, Mr. Brown’s other victims and domestic violence survivors across the world; you can’t do both.  Enough is enough.


--Christopher Thomas, the brother in law of Chana Brown (New Jersey)