SF State

Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi visited SF State with his son, Theo and his wife, Eliana Lopez, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 to enlist supporters for an upcoming hearing scheduled for Oct. 9 before the Board of Supervisors. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi in March after the embattled sheriff pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment of his wife, the end of a criminal case stemming from a New Year's Eve dispute between the couple. If nine of the 11 supervisors vote against Mirkarimi, he will be officially removed from office. Photo by Alex Emslie / Xpress

Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi visited SF State with his family on Thursday, Oct. 4 in an attempt to gather supporters before a city Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9 that will decide the fate of his job.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi in March after the sheriff pled guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment of his wife, Eliana Lopez. The plea bargain settled a criminal case originating from a New Year’s Eve dispute between Mirkarimi and Lopez, in which Mirkarimi allegedly grabbed and bruised his wife’s arm. But the end of the criminal trial was only one chapter of a political melodrama that has played out since January and could end on Tuesday.

Lopez has repeatedly recanted the most damning evidence against Mirkarimi: a tearful video shot by the couple’s neighbor on Jan. 1, in which she displays a bruise on her arm and talks about the altercation. She insisted on Thursday that she has been used by people with political motivations against Mirkarimi.

“I cannot believe they are claiming they are protecting me,” Lopez said as she wrangled the couple’s 3-year-old son, Theo, during their visit to SF State. “Coming from Venezuela, from Latin America, I never expected something like this could happen in San Francisco.”

Mayor Lee and advocates for victims of domestic violence argue that Mirkarimi’s actions on New Years Eve amount to official misconduct. Mirkarimi, his family and a vocal group of supporters calling themselves Friends of Ross Mirkarimi cast the beleaguered sheriff as the victim of a political witch hunt and an attempt by the mayor to overrule the will of voters.

“If people don’t want me to be sheriff, then let the voters decide. You could do that through a recall,” Mirkarimi said to students at SF State, adding that removing and replacing him would effectively hand power over the two largest criminal justice departments in the city to the mayor.

“That’s very dangerous,” Mirkarimi said.

Mirkarimi and his wife insisted that the campaign to remove him from office is politically motivated.

“This isn’t about domestic violence. This is about politics,” Mirkarimi said. “Nobody from the police department, the mayor’s office, domestic violence, or social justice organizations has ever spoken to my wife, even when we were forced separated. There was no support.”

SF State comparative literature major Liana Gasparyan said she does not think Mirkarimi should be removed from office.

“I think his wife is the one person that really matters in this scenario,” Gasparyan said. “If she did not give consent to use the video against him, that’s what really matters. These kinds of things are easily misconstrued.”

SF State mathematics major Ruth Le Beau said she thinks Mirkarimi should lose his job.

“If he was charged with a crime and he’s supposed to be the top law enforcement officer, he should be removed,” she said.

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  1. Pukan
    October 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Cue up the the standard pro Mirkarimi talking points, I’ll pre-answer the number 1 right now.

    The three or four Mirkarimi supporters keep saying that the system has ignored Eliana Lopez.

    Which time did the system disregard what Eliana Lopez said?

    Was it the time on video when she cried about being attacked and abused by Ross, complete with bruises and a detailed account of multiple times?


    After someone whispered in her ear that she had just cancelled her lunch ticket and status as The Sheriff’s Wife?

    Which time did the system ignore?

  2. Pukan
    October 5, 2012 at 6:53 am

    She’ holding a sign that says “Don’t Steal My Vote”…….

    As of October 4th 2012 she’s not a registered voter in California!

    • October 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

      The point is that when the mayor is given the power to oust elected officials via a witch hunt, no one’s vote is safe anymore.

      The method to remove an elected official is by a recall, not when the mayor wants to.

  3. October 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I support Ross and Eliana and Theo — they are clearly a functioning and loving family who are working things out. Ross is doing counseling now and Eliana has come home.

    But more than that, Ross has an amazing record of progressive values and support of neighborhoods, the environment and the people, instead of selling out to big corps and big banks. He supports medical cannabis and will fight for homeowners to keep their homes instead of banks taking them.

    That’s the real reason for this witch-hunt

    Check his wikipedia page to see for yourself –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Mirkarimi

    • Sfgiants
      October 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Being progressive does not let you have a free pass in Domestic Violence.
      Plus, no matter what or how he feels personally, a Sheriff enforces the laws, he is law enforcement. He cannot legally set all prisoners arrested on marijuana charges free. Nor can he stop a legal eviction. Unless, progressives like Mirkarimi are allowed not to follow the law.
      However, a Sheriff, is mandated to enforce laws.

  4. SFGiants
    October 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Mirkarimi should be removed, A Sheriff should NOT be a Domestic Violence Abuser, a Convicted False Imprisoner, going to Court Ordered Domestic Violence Counseling or on Court ordered Adult Probation.
    And being on Adult Probation, Mirkarimi would not be able to step foot in a jail facility because it would Violate his probation.

  5. […] Alex Emslie, SF State Xpress Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi visited SF State with his son, Theo and his wife, […]

  6. Pukan
    October 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Great points SFGiants.

    Ross was way better suited to remain the Board of Stupids where he could be an activist, spew crazy ideas and continue to destroy SF. As Sheriff there is no room for interpreting the law, you enforce it period.

    Getting elected to Sheriff was nothing more than a financial move for Ross.

  7. Barry Eisenberg
    October 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Ross will soon be back on the job as Sheriff and those who tried to remove him with a campaign of slander and defamation—Lyin’ Ed, Gorgeous George, Wee Willie, Frankenstein Phil and so on—will just have to suck it up.

  8. […] mayor and I are not on the same team,” Mirkarimi told the Xpress when he was at SF State last week. “There’s no bad blood, but we have competing […]

  9. October 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

    […] mayor and I are not on the same team,” Mirkarimi told the Xpress when he was at SF State last week. “There’s no bad blood, but we have competing […]