Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective


By Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi.

Well-educated, progressive, charismatic, and artistic, she made friends easily. She and Ross seemed like a great match. Both were committed environmentalists, articulate and successful. They had a son, Theo. As they settled into domestic life, however, problems began to surface. The notoriously workaholic politician did not find his family role an easy fit. A bachelor into his late forties, Ross had trouble with the quiet demands of playing a puzzle on the floor with his toddler or having an agenda-less breakfast with his wife. Ross would not make time for Eliana's request for marriage counseling, blaming the demands of job and campaign.

On December 31, figuring that the election campaign was over and Ross would have a little breathing room, Eliana broached the subject of traveling to Venezuela with Theo. Ross's emotional reaction to her request led to the argument that has now been repeatedly documented in the press — and for which he was eventually charged.

According to Eliana, the context of what happened between them on December 31 actually started much earlier. Ross grew up as the only son of a single teenage mother of Russian Jewish descent and an absent Iranian immigrant father. Pressured by the opposition of her family to her relationship with an Iranian Muslim, Ross's mother divorced his father by the time he was five. Ross was raised on a small, nearly all-white island in New England, with no connection to his father. When he had the opportunity, Ross traveled to Chicago, where his father had remarried and built a new family with two sons. Ross's father turned him away. In Eliana's analysis, Ross's greatest fear is that his painful story with his father will be replayed again with Theo.

Eliana's version of what happened next has never wavered. She went to her neighbor Ivory Madison, as opposed to anyone else, because she thought Ivory was a lawyer and could advise her if her troubles with her husband resulted in divorce. Documenting Ross's reaction to her request to take Theo abroad would be ammunition — targeting his greatest fear. Making the video was Madison's idea, and Eliana agreed to it, thinking that it would be useful to her if a custody dispute ensued. But in Eliana's mind, the video was her property, her story.

Eliana insisted that Ivory did not have her permission to share the video or the story with anyone, that she was not in any danger, and that she was working on her marriage with Ross. Unbeknownst to Eliana, by the time Ivory called the police, she had already shared the story with Phil Bronstein, then the editor at large of Hearst Newspapers, the publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Let's stop for a moment to consider the question of the empowerment of women. The disempowerment of Eliana began on a very small level when her husband grabbed her by the arm during an argument. It was exponentially magnified by the neighbor in whom she confided, who decided that Eliana's strongly held desire to handle her problems with her husband herself was inconsequential. The disempowerment of Eliana was then magnified again and again, by the police, the press, the district attorney, and finally even anti-domestic-violence advocates.

How did it come to be that a system that was intended to empower women has evolved into a system that disempowers them so completely?

Unquestionably, there are women in deeply abusive relationships who need assistance getting out, who may not be able to initiate an escape on their own. Eliana's relationship with Ross did not even come close to that standard. Yet in the eyes of Ivory Madison, Phil Bronstein, District Attorney George Gascon, and even the Director of La Casa de las Madres, once her husband had grabbed her arm, Eliana was simply no longer competent and her wishes were irrelevant.

In other words, an action done by a man, over which a woman has no control whatsoever, renders the woman incompetent and irrelevant, and empowers a long list of people — most of whom are male — to make decisions on this woman's behalf, against her consistent and fervently expressed wishes. No one in the entire chain of people who made decisions on Eliana's behalf offered her any help — besides prosecuting her husband.

Eliana was only consulted by the district attorney in the context of seeking her cooperation in relation to the criminal charges against her husband. Eliana never gave her input or assessment in the situation, was never consulted about the plea agreement.

Now the disempowerment of Eliana has taken an even more sinister twist. In an opinion piece published in the Chronicle, Ivory Madison's husband, Abraham Mertens, charged Eliana with intimidation for allegedly pressuring his wife and himself to destroy the video that Ivory conceived and recorded of Eliana's moment of distress. The same day, Mayor Ed Lee announced that he was suspending Ross as sheriff, and the charges, as written up by the City Attorney, included the Mertens accusation. This had the effect of silencing and disempowering Eliana — but this time, she is being threatened with criminal prosecution. The victim has somehow become the criminal.

Mertens, the mayor, the D.A., the city attorney, and the newspaper editor are all men. All men acting on behalf of a very educated and articulate woman who has repeatedly, passionately, asked them to give her her voice back. And for that they are threatening to criminally prosecute her.

Kathy Black, the director of La Casa de las Madres, called Eliana twice. At the same time, Black and other domestic violence advocates were calling on Ross to step down, raising money to put up billboards, and mobilizing for the anti-Ross campaign, trying him in the press. Seeing all this, Eliana never trusted Black's motives and never took the call. Had Eliana thought assistance would be available her and to Ross without a threat to her family and livelihood, this all would have been a very different story.

During Ross's initial preliminary hearing, Eliana Lopez famously told judge Susan Breall "this idea that I am this poor little immigrant is insulting, it's a little racist." And yet, what middle class, successful, educated Eliana was exposed to is exactly what we as a city have forced victims of domestic violence to face by our emphasis on criminal prosecution.

In San Francisco, we concentrate on saving victims from domestic violence situations. Our efforts in communities of color, immigrant communities, and teens is geared to make sure that victims get away from their abusers.

It's inarguable that women in dangerous situations need to be provided options to get out. But concentrating on these alone — rather than on the array of options that are needed in less severe cases — is the equivalent of treating disease at the emergency room. In fact, this approach undermines prevention efforts because it puts women in the position of choosing between seeking help through counseling and therapy to modify the behavior of their partners — or exposing them to criminal prosecution. It has the unfortunate outcome of disempowering women, particularly low-income immigrant women and women of color, whose economic realities, position in society, and relationship to law enforcement both real and perceived is very different than for white middle-class women.

It's not hard to see that, for immigrant women and women of color, exposure to law enforcement is perceived as dangerous. Many immigrants fear law enforcement based on their experiences with repressive regimes in their own countries. In the past couple of years, the mandatory referral to federal immigration authorities has created panic and fear of police in immigrant communities across America. Immigrant women, already on the edge economically, face the real threat of the loss of their partner's income if the partner is accused of a crime and the boss finds out. Many black women understandably doubt the criminal justice system's capacity to treat black men charged with any crime.

So here is the challenge to domestic violence advocates and progressive folks who care about women: A more progressive approach to Eliana and Ross's particular situation, and to domestic violence in general, would be to work on emphasizing early, non-law enforcement intervention and the prevention of violence against women in addition to the necessary work of extricating women from dangerous situations.

Professor Laureen Snider at Queens University in Ontario has argued that criminalization is a flawed strategy for dealing with violence against women. Snider argues that feminists and progressives have misidentified social control with police/governmental control. In other words, we are substituting one oppressor for another — and glossing over the fact that in the judicial system, poor people of color fare worse than white middle-class people. We have punted on the hard work education, and of shaping and reshaping men's definitions of masculinity and violence, of the social acceptance of the subjugation of women, of violence against children. We have chosen to define success in the fight against domestic violence by women saved from horrible situations and incarceration rates for their abusers — rather than doing the difficult work of community and individual change necessary to prevent violence from happening in the first place.

Putting up billboards in Spanish telling women that domestic violence is never a private matter might make people feel like they are doing something useful, but it will do nothing to help Eliana, and it will do very little to prevent domestic violence against women in the Spanish-speaking community.

My own experience with the community's response to domestic violence was very different from Eliana's. My father was physically abusive. The most violent period of my life was during high school in the 1980's, shortly after we had immigrated to the United States from war-torn El Salvador. Our economic realities and shaky legal situation placed a level of stress on our family that made violence an almost daily occurrence.

I ran away from home, and eventually got connected with the services offered through the Redwood City YMCA. We entered family counseling, and the intervention was successful — my father was able to stop his violent behavior and our family survived. Had the police intervened, my father would have likely been charged, very possibly deported, and the whole family would have been sent back to El Salvador — back to the civil war.

In the case of my family, in which violence was a severe, everyday occurrence, there was a successful intervention. In Eliana's case, which was limited to her husband too forcefully grabbing her arm, the family was destroyed and it will take years before the victim and her child will be able to (maybe) put their lives back together.

I challenge the progressive community and anti-violence advocates to reexamine this criminalization-heavy approach and its impact on my friend Eliana's family, but also to examine how it affects all victims of domestic violence in San Francisco, particularly women in immigrant communities and women of color who rightfully have a distrustful relationship with law enforcement. Although it might make some feel better, all of this energy and effort spent demanding Ross Mirkarimi's resignation only serves to reinforce the dominant model of criminalization — to make an example out of him. It won't help Eliana, and it won't help people suffering from violence in their intimate relationships.

Myrna Melgar is Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and a mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.



We know all couples argue. But there is no excuse for causing any bruises etc during that argument, regardless if it is a woman or a man. I have first hand experience with a violent relationship starting with one bruise. It doesn't take much for a situation to spiral out of control. If this was truly a one time incident and could have bee handled within the confines of the family, then why make the video. The video was created because she feared it couldn't be handles and that the situation would escalate over time. When you are the one in the situation, it is very easy to feel that if the relationship fails, it is somehow your fault for not trying harder, doing more or being "better". In the end, perhaps Iliana was pushed to a solution before she was ready to face the domestic issues in her relationship, but IF Ross had admitted to having issues, agreed to go to counseling with her, and took some responsibility instead of wasting all that time denying, it might have turned out differently. Apologizing after you deny for so long and finally give in admit to your error is more of a "I am sorry I got caught" instead of a genuine "I am sorry".

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:42 am

When a man is arguing with his wife he knows the message that he is sending when he touches her in any way. This bruise wasn't caused by a gentle, affectionate caress. It was caused by an arm grab carrying the subliminal message of showing just how physically strong this big angry bull is and that she better fall in line. In other words, DV.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:32 am

The DV industry is really about punsihing men anymore. Thats why once it was reported, they took it out of the victims hands. They had a man that needed punsihing. No due process, no conviction. Destroy the family, get them divorced so that the courts can be involved in another wealth transfer from males to females.This gives "victims and family advcates" guaranteed employment too, as they are needed to extract more cash from the man when the woman desires a better lifestyle from the person she refuses to live and have sex with.

Posted by SGT Ted on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 6:46 am

Gee, I wonder how many so-called progressive men (and their apologists like Christine Craft) really feel this way deep down.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:41 am

Unless it is a valid self defense, it is a crime to cause injury to anyone, whether it is the teenager walking down the street, the cashier ringing you up, the annoying person sitting next to you on the plane, or your spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/lover.

If I grabbed someone off the street and roughed them up, even if it was just a bruise, I would be charged with assault. I would not have apologists say I was being "treated unfairly," or that my charges were part of a system for "punishing men," or that I had a mean mommy growing up. I fail to see why injuring someone you claim to love means you should get a pass and a big hug and encouraged to go to family counseling? Either our society thinks assault is a crime, or we don't. If we don't want assault to be a crime, then take it off the books and let people beat each other into oblivion. We would save billions of dollars in taxes that could be spent elsewhere, or better yet refunded back to the taxpayers (I know, wishful thinking), and we would only have to deal with a few dead people and lots of injured ones in exchange (but that would be their problem).

As for the Mirkarimis, there were two options that could have avoided this whole mess: (A) Eliana, the drama queen, could have said, "Gosh, I am tired of Ross and now I am mad I have this bruise, so I am just going to dump his ass and move back to my rich family in Venezuela," instead of running off to some lady she barely knew and cooking up some divorce strategy that backfired on her; or (B) after the crime was reported, Ross could have said, "Gee, this is embarrassing right after I managed to convince the stupid SF voters to set me up in a sweet $200,000-a-year job, even though there were actually well-qualified people running against me. But, I don't want to cause further embarrassment and ruin my future political career, so I am just going to accept a lesser plea get sentenced to take anger management classes, and yes, I probably will have to resign, but after this blows off, I'll run again and the softy SF voters will most likely elect me to some other cushy taxpayer financed position."

Yes, both Eliana and Ross made dumb choices, and I don't feel the least bit sorry for either one of them. They caused the situation in the first place, and they made a series of decisions that made it progressively (no pun intended) worse.

Now, let's all move on. At least the good thing is that for now (and hopefully permanently) the city actually has a competent and well-experienced individual in the Sheriff's position instead of a clown.

Posted by Chris on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:17 am

This comment wins the thread. I especially like "If I grabbed someone off the street and roughed them up, even if it was just a bruise, I would be charged with assault."
Yet somehow, it's the "feminist" position that there should be an exception when the assault is committed by a husband on his wife. Incredible.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:31 am

Cops dismiss the use of force all the time under the aegis of mutual combat when they don't feel like investigating.

In the 1990s, neighbors used our warehouse roof as their deck in contravention of their lease. Once they chose a particularly inopportune time to dance above our bedroom, after returning from a funeral. I went upstairs to direct them to respect our rental rights and stop and one of the dancers grabbed my arms, battering me.

I flipped my hands around on him, he was drunk and slow, and grabbed his wrists to check his assault and battery, immobilizing him to try to talk him down, which worked. Got back to our space and called the cops to have him arrested for assault on our property and the cops declined to arrest him, writing it all off to mutual combat even though others came onto our rental space and assaulted and battered me.

SFPD don't give a shit unless it is politically opportune for them to.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:13 am

The Mirkarimi's could have so easily minimized the negative imapact. Ross M. chose to fight this "private matter" and is still doing so. He is still going for broke and broke and broken is what he will be. This is all on Ross.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:25 am

really suited to a leadership role as the stress clearly got to him, bpoth in his abuse to his wife and to his almost stunning attempts to cover it up and make it go away at any cost.

Ross has already spent over 100 grand trying to save himself and yet, the more he tries, the more he digs himself into an ever bigger hole.

He should resign his ex-post and either move to Caracas if his wife will have him back (plenty of lefty jobs thete, I'm sure). Or else stay here and find some union hack job like Daly.

His options are limtied at this point and he cannot be saved.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:07 am

Thanks Myrna and the Guardian for once again giving voice to true progressives. As a person of color myself and being an immigrant i can completely relate to Eliana's and Myrna's experiences. My upbringing thankfully was completely free of any violence but i was close to people who were constantly confronted with it, although in various different forms.

Frankly, upper and middle class, liberal White women (and men) cannot seem to escape the 'white-mans burden' approach to social issues. Im from an upper middle class background in India, growing up in 'old' Bangalore and despite living in leafy, expansive city neighbourhoods, we were always exposed to the inner city homes, slums and cramped living conditions of the masses.

This entire story reminds me of my Mom's misguided attempts at trying to empower a woman who from the slums who was abused by her spouse. After calling the police and ofcourse bribing them to actually register a complaint (!!) and having the husband hauled away for questioning, the final outcome was, to say the least, unsettling.

The offending husband (who had slapped his wife) was removed from his job and the family was thrown into complete disarray. My Mom picked up the tab for a while but was constantly blamed and abused for destroying the family. My Moms ultimately flawed attempt at sociial engineering at the micro-level had unintended consequences that compounded the problem ten-fold.

This is not to say she should not have intervened, but its how and what you do that matters. In Elianas case Media sensationalism and politics coupled with a sever case of white-mans burdenitis seems to have destroyed her life for now. I have nothing but sympathy for Eliana.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:54 am

I don’t know about the rest of you but if Myrna Melgar is Eliana’s friend, Eliana needs to get out more.

“On December 31, figuring that the election campaign was over and Ross would have a little breathing room, Eliana broached the subject of traveling to Venezuela with Theo.”

Really…so it was all Eliana’s fault?

“Unquestionably, there are women in deeply abusive relationships who need assistance getting out, who may not be able to initiate an escape on their own. Eliana's relationship with Ross did not even come close to that standard.”
Is Melgar tyring to imply that the level of abuse is in direct proportion to an ability to escape on their own and that Eliana didn’t have it that bad?
“She went to her neighbor Ivory Madison, as opposed to anyone else, because she thought Ivory was a lawyer and could advise her if her troubles with her husband resulted in divorce. Documenting Ross's reaction to her request to take Theo abroad would be ammunition — targeting his greatest fear” .

What exactly is Meglar trying to say here? That Eliana was “overreacting” in the video and that the video was only created by Eliana to use a leverage in a divorce and not because actual abuse had occurred? What Eliana documented on that video was not a couple who simply drifted apart, she documented abuse as potential grounds for a divorce in which she most likely might seek full custody.

Melgar’s brushing off Eliana’s documentation of abuse and applying her own standard misplaced and insulting to victims of abuse.

After spending time in camps during WWII, my parents, with dogged determination and faith, were able to legally immigrate to the US in search for a better life. My family also faced the stark economic realities of being non-English speaking people trying to enter the work force and much like Melgar alleges, my father became physically abusive towards my family. The police were called and he was charged and jailed for his actions. I didn’t run away, I didn’t abandon my family. I started working at the age of 12 to ease the financial burden on my family. When I was in my early teens I worked hard to help my mother realize that she could leave my father, take care of us on her own, and that I would always be there for her. I lived at home and commuted to college so that I could help out not just financially but also emotionally.

As a survivor of child abuse (yes…that’s what it is called) I am appalled that Melgar is relieved that law enforcement didn’t intervene in her own situation. Physical abuse is a crime.

Posted by roflynn on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:25 am

Construed to the extreme, the facts of THIS case barely rise to the level of a crime.

Other people's lives are not an opportunity for anyone to attempt a "do-over" of their lives and histories to "get it right this time."

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:43 am

Thank-you for your rational thinking and recounting your experience.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

I have to agree with you. I can't believe that EL doesn't recognize that MM's article is no help at all. It is MM trying to get her name and opinions into the news. Marketing. If she is no longer an "legislative assistant to Supervisor Eric Mar" - is she employed? As a "consultant" - a consultant to whom? Is she a consultant to political pollists who are looking for almost middle-aged Latina "feminists" who can't think or write without spouting racists and sexists remarks as causes for all the problems of the world and who call themselves "feminists" when they go against most true feminists who think that we have made strides to reverse DV toll on victims by teaching the victims that enabling the abuser with lies or not cooperating with the investigation doesn't get the reformation in the abuser but is likely to enrage the abuser worse - which I would bet occurred with RM.

Frankly,Eliana, you need some new friends who keep your personal life out of the press so that you can deal with the "private family matter" as you called it. MM did you no good with this treatise from an obvious racist and prejudiced "feminist" spouting her own opinions in order to make her name a household "brand" in the "Progressive" city of SF or at least in those "Progressive" households. She must be looking for a new political job to live on a salary paid by taxplayers monies while she ironically calls out about anyone any taxpayer who lives in SF as belonging to various despicable groups with hidden or not so hidden prejudices that she has suffered for all the 25 or so years that she has enjoyed American freedom and lifestyle since she left her Mother country to illegally migrate and prosper here and get an education here not then doing anything to help her former compatriots accomplish this in her own country of origin. If the life is so miserable here for liberal feminist Latinas, why not leave? What do you think happens in the countries from where the Latinas originate? I am interested in knowing. Why won't these "Progressive" Latina politicas help where it is really needed and move to their countries of origin and help the people who need so much help there? At least there it would not be the fact that they are Latina or "of color" that prevents them from improving the lives of others as they would like us to believe they would like to do for others. Not having to overcome that prejudice, think of how much more they could accomplish and how grateful their former own compatriots would be for the benefits of the education that they got for free or almost free here in the US.

This article did not help you, Eliana. You need someone who lets you take a big step backwards away from this incident and its fallout so that you can see that this occurred because you married someone you did not know well, and that you did not know when you married him that he has poor control over his emotions and his emotions control his hands and that he likes to have control of everything including you. This is not a peer marriage. I think you have been seeing that for some time now and that is why you talked with Ivory Madison because you were coming to an awareness that RM wasn't going to go to counseling or change by whatever you were trying so far in the privacy of your own relationship. And in fact things were getting worse, I'd bet. You also realized that there was a potential for harm to you and to your child and that you wanted to move back to Venezuela and truly feared the consequences of telling RM the full truth and probably you thought that he had enough political pull in SF and the courts in his former and present positions to result in legal entanglement for a long time in divorce and custody issues. But you are there now at home and why is it you are trying to "correct" whatever you perceive are others' interference in your plans and the outcomes. It is not working with a forward view. This article did you more harm than good. It was written by an ambitious political person who wants to blame anyone and everyone for problems except the person who was wrong. Ross Mirkarimi did wrong and showed a side that is not acceptable in a high level law officer. He mocked the law with his words that this is a "private family matter" and he mocked the law with his trying to keep you from going to the law with evidence and for protection for you and your child and by his trying to modify the facts of the case and to keep any prior incidents from seeing the light of day in a trial.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

What a load of RUBBISH! Domestic violence is also a crime against the STATE. Neither abusers NOR victims get to frame the legal narrative!

And no one has the right at all to tell people to lie or destroy evidence in a legal proceeding, If that is getting one's voice back then the ignorant should remain silent until learned.

In any event, you had better BELIEVE that this will be a cautionary tale to any and ALL who think it is cool to beat women. Already, the process has served its purpose.

On a side note, yes it sucks for her and the kid but SHE made the decision to be with this misogynist clown and in the real world you PAY for bad decisions. He is a slip of a man and she never should have married him.

She is not guilty of this crime, but she is partially RESPONSIBLE for this situation. If I walk into a notoriously bad neighborhood at night, flash money around and then get robbed, I am not guilty of a crime but I am TOTALLY responsible for my poor judgment. So it is with her.

Look before you leap, and remember the real world has often unforeseen consequences for shit decision making.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:52 am

Eliana never called the police. She went to a woman who said she was a lawyer, to make a video, preserve the evidence. As such the video belongs to her, not her lawyer. If she does not want the police to have it, that is her right. Ask your lawyer. She holds the privilege, not the lawyer.

Posted by Guest Dr Kangas on Mar. 31, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

This whole issue has put me in full PTSD mode again, as it must have done for many other women here. However, I disagree with Eliana/Ms. Melnar. I understand that she is a friend of Eliana's and wants to support Eliana's side of the story. That is admirable and something a good friend would do. You are to be acknowledged for your contribution to the discussion and for translating Eliana's feelings into English.

However, having recently been blessed to escape from a long-term marriage with physical and verbal abuse, I have begun to see things more clearly in the year I've been by myself. Having married at a young age and having suffered years of physical discipline growing up, I was toughened to tolerate physical mishandling. If the people who love you whip you with a belt or a stick growing up, and *they obviously love you,* then that's how you believe love is. People fight and then they get back together because they're Family. They love one another. You learn to just put these incidents out of your mind and dismiss them. Next time, you'll do better at whatever it is you were being punished for. You grow up and move on.

So a young woman like that enters a marriage straight out of her father's home and when the abuse starts, whether in the dating process or marriage, those tiny signs are simply ignored. At some point, she may call her family for help, but they may say, as mine did, "Well, what did YOU do?" and start reciting the lessons I needed to learn to be a better wife and to keep that from happening again. It was my fault. Or, "All couples go through hard times, but this will pass," as I was told.

I internalized the self-blame, stopped complaining and NEVER TOLD ANYONE ABOUT IT, even as it continued. Of course, in between those periods, my husband would apologize sincerely, cry, promise to never do that again, act really nice for a long time, buy me gifts and take me out, be great with the children, provide excuses for why he was so stressed, even attend so-called "anger management" classes. In between, I forgave him, chalked it up to him having a bad day or going through a rough patch at work. In between those periods, we had two children because I was convinced he had gotten over it each time.

Over the years I never once called the cops, not when he threw me out of the house during a blizzard, not when he put me out of the car on a bridge in the rain, not when he slapped me silly, not when he shoved me around, not even when he beat me in my head, causing internal injuries. Today, I wish I had.

I never wanted the shame of police coming to my home or the children becoming involved (I hid it from them with little lies: "Oh, Daddy's just grumpy today." "Daddy's having a hard time with his boss at work." "Daddy's worried about money." "Daddy's under stress." (Like I wasn't!) The same lies I told myself. I learned to always kiss his ass and act sunny when he was in a stormy mood, if the kids were around, so they wouldn't have to see him go after me again. I never wanted to harm my children's reputation in the neighborhood or with their friends by having police come to our home.

Or I admit sadly that I didn't want my own reputation to be that of a wife who is involved in such things. I was a professional woman, a good mother, and part of a Beautiful, Successful Family. Being a woman of color had nothing to do with whether or not I called the police. Besides, My husband was always was so *nice* once he calmed down. And he often *let me* express how I felt afterward. And he always helped treat any injuries he caused. I would hide from friends and family until I healed, and make up excuses for anyone who asked. (Yes, I used "walked into a door" once while I was still a girl at home.)

Almost 40 years later, with that man out of my everyday life and consciousness, I have now finally cleared my head, regained my brain, started to remember specific incidents and patterns--and connect the dots. "When did I first see this coming?" "Oh, I remember that time! And that one, too!" Through therapy, have learned that the abuse cycle works exactly this way: abuse, apology/sweetness, abuser fantasizes about abusing again. Abuse, apology/sweetness, abuser fantasizes about abusing again; then out of nowhere! Again the abuse, apology/sweetness, but I could never peek inside his head to see his fantasies of what he *should have done to me, what he would do to me *next time* I did or said that, or gave him that look, or that sigh, or dissed him in that way.

I have learned that I was not alone! And all the TV shows and articles were right: if they have an anger management problem, and have learned to act out as an addictive crutch, it only gets worse with time. A bruise on the arm today, a broken arm in 10-20 years, that's what they all said. And I didn't believe them. Because my husband genuinely loved me, or loved his fantasy of what I *could* be, if I would just quit *making* him feel so badly about himself.

Seeing Eliana defend her husband, blame the neighbor for tattling, minimize her injuries and live in fear of the fate of her family, just brought it all back to me. I remember how I behaved all those years: just like her. I looked up something called the "Battered Women's Syndrome" last week, and Oh my God! That was me! That IS me! And that is what is happening to Eliana. I can see it now.

I, too, am a woman of color (although that is not at all the way I would describe Eliana. She is a well-to-do, white South American celebrity to me. Nor would I describe Ross as a person of color, although my friends do. He is half Iranian, and Iranians consider themselves White!) but I can't say that my ethnicity entered into the equation in my situation.

I now know that what he did was sick and wrong. But that I was enabling his behavior, I was co-dependent on him to help me raise the children in the Family of my fantasies. After the very first incident, before the kids, I have no one to blame but myself for keeping it a secret and tolerating it, for letting myself be chastised by my parents for my "misbehavior." Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. For the sake of my children I should have left long ago. Our relationship without Angry Daddy has improved 100%! They are back on track in school without the stress at home.

For Eliana's sake, please think of the long-term consequences of this marriage on Theo and Eliana's part, instead of being blinded by her short-term reaction to all the press attention. Of course she is ashamed and terrified. Her American Dream of a Family is being stomped on and beaten up. Her abuse is public knowledge now, but the public doesn't matter. Politics doesn't matter. Ivory doesn't matter. Eliana matters. Theo matters. Ross matters. He was wrong. She did the right thing by telling Ivory. It doesn't need to be on the TV news! But I felt as though my situation would have been broadcast around town if anyone know. Of course, I was never a famous TV star, nor did I marry a man so eager to stay in the limelight. But here's the good part: now that I have told my father and two friends and I feel empowered. The air is lightened without the burden of carrying around a terrible family secret. I now have a few relationships where I can truly be my authentic self. My kids have each picked the one or two friends they can trust, told their version of the story and gotten sympathetic, understanding treatment, so they feel better, too. Wow! Somebody cares! Somebody understands!

Stick with Eliana, Ms. Melgar. She is going to need a good friend when this marriage gets rockier, and rockier, and rockier. Despite his progressive politics, Ross is kind of an asshole. It's true; and Ivory is a backhanded snitch, but it's often only through snitches that police can arrest criminals. I now know that what Ross did was a crime.

Although I am an abuse victim from childhood through my marriage, I didn't realize it was a crime until a few weeks ago. Really.

Having Eliana's case become a topic of public discussion is doing more good, for more women, than she can ever imagine. Tell her that for me. Tell her I am glad to know that even beautiful, glamorous TV stars have suffered this fate. Eliana can emerge like Halle Berry, Madonna (Sean Penn), Pamela Anderson (Tommy Lee) and Tina Turner (Ike) many others whose abuse has become public knowledge, but who emerged stronger and more popular than ever. Tell her she is not alone.

I am her biggest fan.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:57 am

If Myrna was a true friend - instead of keeping this in the press, thinking that she is empowering Eliana by this further public scrutiny, MM should have listen to Eliana and encouraged EL to be honest about the true nature of the relationship as this person has done so well above. That honesty even if only to her "friends" - that personal private honesty would hav empowered her. This 'opinion' is just prolonging the pain and lies.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 4:53 pm


Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:58 am

The article and most of these comments are pure horseshit. Eliana, please stay down there in Caracas and since the old man can't make a living here any longer, invite him to join you so you two can work out this wonderful marriage of yours. Keep in mind you are only with Ross because you got knocked up on your 1 night stand. We certainly will.

Posted by Willie E. Brown IV on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 10:21 am

The writer indulges in racist rhetoric when she divides "poor women of color'' and "middle-class white women.''

There are poor white women. There are middle-class and even upper-class Latinas. The author herself qualifies as the latter. So does Eliana Lopez.

The stereotyping undercut the entire article's validity. They certainly aren't empowering. Ms. Lopez is a well-to-do, educated woman. Treat her as such.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 10:45 am

Nothing that goes bad for a person is their own thought if they are of the correct race and class, Ross, his wife and the author are part of the upper class, not to mention members of the San Franciscan political class.

The is no real wrong answer when a studies racialist gets a hold of an issue, everything can be deflected into race and class issues, even when it is something as simple as Ross being a blow hard ass.

The formulaic fringe left racial theories should be put into a algebra equation of sorts, or maybe a mad lib.

Someone gets a pass because they are (poor, black, gay, hispanic) because of this they are persecuted by the (whites, establishment, capitalists, the conspiracy, regressives), the institutional (racism, classism, sexism anti non white ism) has stacked the deck against a more just paradigm...


No one is responsible for their schemes and antics, but the external out group, your own side are perpetual victims even when they bring it on themselves.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 11:15 am

In fact, it's almost impossible for any left-wing ideas to gain any traction unless they are couched in terms that stereotype people.

Karl Marx started it all, of course, by arbitrarily dividing people very conveniently into "capitalists" and "workers" thereby giving birth to class warfare, which continues to this day, and of which the derivative Occupy movement is only the latest incarnation.

Then political correctness came into the world and all of a sudden there were all these new stereotypes that could be employed e.g. gender, race, sexual orientation, immigration status. Essentially you cease to be an individual with liberal politics, and you become merely a member of a stereotypical class.

And since America was predicated upon the idea of the individual, liberal politics have never gained much traction in the US nationally, unlike in europe. but it lives on in isolated anomalous places like San Francisco where, in order to know what you're supposed to think about something, you first have to know which tribe you are in.

This article, sadly, plays right to those ideas.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Marxism was a RESPONSE to class warfare.

I'm not a Marxist but I am familiar with the literature:

Marxism failed because it defined people in terms of their oppressors which means that you can never escape oppression being defined within it. But that cannot sop up the blood of brutal and violent class warfare that led to the appearance of Marxism and anarchy as schools of political thought in the mid 19th century.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

Marxism failed - at least partly - because it defined people stereotypically as being in a conflict. That was exactly why all socialist ideologies fail - theyr equire people to see themselves as nothing more than class members.

Of course, Marxism failed in the west because the workers became the owners - thru mutual funds. Conflict of interest resolved.

While in the east it failed because of the brutal repression required to keep it in place.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

One reason why I am not a Marxist is because you can't fight your way out of defining yourself in your opponent's terms.

I agree with Marx that class warfare was raging then and he'd probably agree with me that class warfare is raging now and that the Marxist/Leninist project did not halt class warfare.

Mutual funds also generated massive fee income for investment banks which led to their political dominance. But the music is stopping on that game, chairs are being removed, and conditions are getting nastier and nastier because the banks are powerful enough to resist meaningful reforms.

Workers becoming owners via mutual funds meant in practice that workers had to throw their money at the market which created inflation in equities and predictably a colossal bubble which then got culled to further enrich the 1%.

Funny how conservatives have no problem with private capital leveraging itself into inflation generating bubbles, equities and housing, but freak whenever the monetary sovereign, the USG, prints public money for the public purpose.

When the USG prints money for private purposes, such as QE, and that gooses the markets, conservatives appear fine with that so long as inflation bumps up equity prices. No, of course, not, this time there will not be a bubble and it will not get culled by the market riggers.

China is a brutally repressive capitalist regime that is faring well economically via mano duro capitalism.

The security controls imposed by the demopublican and republicrat parties is pointing us in the direction of the Soviet Union. The US imprisons a larger percentage of its population than the USSR did or China..

Jeanne Kirkpatrick was wrong, democracy does not bring capitalism and capitalism does not bring democracy.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

"Marxism failed - at least partly - because it defined people stereotypically as being in a conflict. That was exactly why all socialist ideologies fail."
You mean like the French Revolution?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 11:54 am

Capitalism and its revolutions also define people as being in conflict as well, and it has no problems doing so, only so long as the conflict is mediated by money and those with the most prevail.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

as Marx complained.

The American Revolution resulted in the taking of property and some abuse of the loyalists, Marxist revolution resulted in millions killed in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and various other countries.

Revolutions are odd, the Iranian revolution killed more in a few months than the Shah did in decades.

True believers who are trying to create a new Utopia are actually hell on the citizens, while right wing junta's, although bad, are no where near as bad as the so called people's revolutionaries.

Posted by Matlock on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

Better re-write all those textbooks.

Except that Marx was 100 years later. Oops . .

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

No one is stopping Eliana and Ross from being a family. I wish them luck moving forward.

But this isn't just about Eliana. It's about whether or not the Sheriff of San Francisco should be allowed to serve after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge. How can we take domestic abuse cases in our city courts seriously if our own sheriff is known to take his anger out on his wife. Will "it's just an arm bruise" be the new defense tactic? Just because Eliana currently chooses to put up with it doesn't mean the rest of us should have to.

That said, I really like the point this oped makes about intervention and prevention. And how someone who is poor or immigrant has to make some really tough choices in life and going to the cops might not be the best one. (All the more reason to have a sheriff that isn't guilty of, essentially, domestic abuse, perhaps?)

I look forward to finding out more about why Madison alerted authorities and if it's true that she called Bronstein. But I don't care if this is a conspiracy against progressives. What's done is done and we have to do what's appropriate next, and I don't think that includes keeping Ross. We deserve a better sheriff.

Posted by Guest ML on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

She called the police with Lopez's OK to get information. The cops didn't let her keep it anonymous. Lopez also knew Madison would call Bronstein. Everything she's said to the contrary is a lie.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

who the hell are you to say what is true and what's a lie? Were you there with Lopez and Madison? If not, STFU!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 31, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

Were you? Was Melgar?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

Um, Ross and Eliana ARE being prevented from being a family! Are you not aware of the stay-away order that has kept them apart for months?

If people think Ross shouldn't be Sheriff, that is an understandable position. He is an elected official as Sheriff, and therefore the appropriate channel with which to remove him is through a recall election. This charge of "official misconduct" does not pass legal muster.

Posted by Erika McDonald on Mar. 31, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

Thank you Myrna.
While this is an undeniably important issue, here it has largely devolved into a parochial pissing match between the primarily white (or passing for) males, left and right, who still cling to the illusion that they have the 'droit de seigneur', and can maintain their power to make decisions effecting the other 51% of the population.
Meanwhile an equally important, maybe more so, inconvenient truth seems to be fading from view. A couple of updates.
PS. How many of you were aware that a 63 year old African American woman, Kathryn Galves and her sister Renita, both in poor health, were evicted from the home Kathryn has owned for in Noe Valley for 40 years, just two more victims of Wells Fargo's predatory loans. While I'm sure that will be welcome news to the racists who have infested this site, might I caution you to heed Pastor Niemoller's words, "YOU'RE NEXT".

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

for the fact that this is about a person who was just elected to a job as SF Sherrif, who is a sworn "peace" officer authorized to carry a firearm. That is too risky, can you imagine the liability the City has on this loose cannon. Regardless if they are overstated and Eliana wants to stay with him, fine, but and these facts should be scrutinized by law enforcement becuase of his position. I think that it should also be known this as this is not normal behavior, Sherrif or not. I have never witnessed or heard of any of my family or friends bruising each other or getting physical in any manner. I dont think it is common at all and to pretend as if it is and or minor is dangerous. Regardless, the family already appears to have been 'destroyed' they were clearly on their way to divorce and I'm sure Eliana will not be back in these parts, which was Ross' fear in the first place. He seems more interested anyway in focusing on getting his job back after this embarrassing mess. He can't be effective after this regardless, he pled guilty of a crime and is known for his bad temper when he was a Supervisor. This isnt going away and he should step off.

Posted by starcycle on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for articulating what so many Latinas have been feeling in the community!!!! Thank you for your courage and thank you to the Bay Guardian for publishing the article!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

During the early nineties, I lived with a then internal affairs officer of the S. F. Sherrifs' department. I was abused terribly for about three years by this man, who was never concerned about his behavior, as he joked to future recruits," You can beat your wife, she won't snitch you out like a mistress will".
I called the S.F. Police myself when I finally ran out the door in my short nightgown to the street and called 911 from a pay phone to avoid another beating.
I thought I was going to finally end the abuse.
I was wrong.
SFPD used me to hurt their rivals- the sherriffs.
La Casa De La Madras placed me in a SRO, and I am not allowed to have ANY visitors in the privacy of my room, or any other area, because I am a domestic abuse survivor, and I cannot be trusted to choose safe people to bring into my own home.

They went so far as to get a special exemption from the laws that allow any other San Francisco Single Room Occupancy tenants, (including DV perpetrators), visitation rights, once I won my case at the Rent Board.

I had to drop out of school, to obtain GA-yet, my abuser was on paid suspension, during the "investigation".

I too, was threatened with jail, when I refused to testify after "leaks" were published in the chronicle, and I was accosted by reporters.

I have been treated as someone too weak and stupid to make my own decisions.
Something is very wrong if my abuser can live In a SRO and have tea with his friends and family, yet I the "victim", have lost that and other rights.

I agree with everything said about La Casa De La Madras, as I was a participant in their programs,and have found them to be VERY dis empowering t the clients.

Thank You for having the courage to write this. Too many people let these powerful abuse their positions for fear that they are going to somehow perceived as anti-feminist.

Posted by Elana on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

yet you are saying the opposite of what she is saying. She wanted the police and the sheriff to do nothing and you are complaining that they did nothing! She wants her husband to keep his 6 figure job and you are complaining that your husband kept his job.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

Any of you Klansmen/Women got a response.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

Long and short, it has become apparent that our elected sheriff does not have the discretion to understand that regardless of how it went down- it happened, he pushed beyond the limit and in his new role-it just is not appropriate to have him represent an office that is charged with mitigating domestic violence issues, he should put his ego and desire for power aside.

Eliana and she is my friend and we are latinas and he was a sad lil boy and all this other long and tortured explanation by her friend is in excess- he pushed his woman around and bullied her- stop wasting tax payers time and money, find a real job and save us the telenovela.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

So the man is a shitty father too?

Posted by Jammy Ham on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

You discuss the December 31 incident, but I thought Lopez also mentioned an incident of Mirkarimi abuse that occurred in March 2011.

And didn't a neighbor make a statement to the police that he heard Lopez yelling on the street, that Mirkarimi was abusing her and that she was going to go to the police? (I'm not sure if that was a separate incident, March, or December 31.)

Also, you talk about December 31 arm bruising as if it happened in a vacuum. Mirkarimi was also charged for child endangerment (because he was assaulting his wife in front of Theo, to where his actions caused Theo to cry), and with dissuading a witness, both for locking up Lopez while he tried to convince her to forget the whole thing, and threatening her if she went to the police.

So assuming March happened, plus preventing her leaving the house, plus endangering Theo, added to the physical assault on December 31, that's four incidents you have to explain away.

Moreover, I'd like to know what else Mirkarimi did to Lopez during the marriage. We only know about December 31 because of the video and Madison's statements. Since Lopez refused to cooperate with an investigation we don't know if anything else happened. I suspect Mirkarimi did not show his DV side all-of-a-sudden on December 31.

Before defending this guy or Lopez (and her statements about what a great person and/or wife she was, is, and could be) lets get all the facts on to the table so we can decide for ourselves who is at fault and determine the validity of what she is saying.

Lopez can't be selective on facts she reveals in asking us to side with her.

Posted by MichaelSF on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

I as a women of color who has worked hard on a hard relationship I find this article offensive!!

Eliana is not a poor woman of color. She may be latina but she lives both here and in South America as a white women of means!

If she wants to work out her relationship with her husband she if free to do so though I would say she need to do a better job caring for her son. But her husband has not place being sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

If you don't want me to stereotype you, then don't stereotype yourself.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

I posted this on SFGate and I think it important to comment herein too. Bottom line: It is my opinion that it was only a matter of time that Mirkarimi turned his abusive hand and will on to his son, so that's what gives me the biggest concern.

Lopez is a healthy, young woman, with her senses about here. She can (and did) defend herself against Mirkarimi. But what about Theo. From personal experience I can tell you that he might have been in for a miserable, unhappy childhood, something that no child should suffer. So I say "good job" to San Francisco government stepping in to protect this innocent child. Lopez... she can take care of herself.

Now my comment on SFGate:

San Francisco should be applauded for the efforts they expend to help DV victims. Yeah, it is not perfect, but the greater good has to be looked at, what these programs do.

The system is designed to help people exactly in the situation Lopez AND Theo were in. I don't know about you, but I don't like the alternative, Lopez and Mirkarimi treating this like "a private matter." Seems pretty clear that was not working, Lopez figuring out a solution. It is not acceptable, Theo possibly suffering years of physical and mental abuse, like I did.

I was in an orphanage until age 7. During those years I suffered sexual abuse. Nothing was done because back then there was no system to help us. To explain my silence and bruises my caretakers explained to the state social worker that I must have been walking into the playground equipment. That was good enough for them to investigate no further.

Then I was adopted. While appearing a happy ending, I went to a family where the father's discipline method included striking me with his fists, or whipping me with his 3" cowboy belt that he wore to square dancing lessons. I would say on average I got a beating or whipping every few months. There was always a reason to discipline me, I was late for dinner, got a "C" on my report card, or said something that in my dad's opinion was stupid.

Back then I knew if I came home and the cowboy belt was hanging on the doorknob that I was in for it. Of course I would get due process. My dad would explain to me why I was about to get a beating. While I could never talk him out of it, at least I knew why the "20 lashes" was forthcoming.

The entire time I was in that abusive household my dad never played with me, never helped with my homework, never took an interest in what I was doing (unless I was doing something bad), and never attempted to participate in high school events (like other fathers did, for example, father/son night. Heck, one time I said to myself that "our relationship sucks" and asked my dad to attend a father-son night at school. At first he said OK, but I could tell he was uncomfortable with the idea. A week before the event he came up with an excuse and canceled on me).

My adopted mother, who is Latina, all through those years never questioned my father. This was because she knew better than to do that. Latina wives don't question the husband, they do as they are told. At least that's how things were with couples who married in the 40s and 50s.

My mom was conditioned to never question my dad, his methods were an accepted way of bringing up children. (In places like Texas beating children is still an accepted way to raise kids, wives know their place and what goes on in the house is a private matter). I digress.

Anyway, one time in second grade I ran away from home, this a second time, because I did not want to get a beating. The police found me after a week. When the police took me home my mom ran out of the BR and hugged me. I did NOT hug her back because I could see my dad was pissed and I knew I was in for a beating. (Back then the police did not ask questions, they did not wonder "Why is this kid acting so scared? Why when we found him and asked if he wanted to go home, after being gone a week, did he say 'I guess so?'")

That night while sleeping I woke up to a sharp, biting pain. It was my dad beating my face with the hard, sharp edged, leather heel of one of his shoes. He must have really been pissed since he did not use the cowboy belt. While beating my face he said "you really embarrassed your mother when you did not hug her, in front of the police. Don't you ever run away from home again." Yeah, that was his concern, the embarrassment I caused them.

The next day, Sunday I was dragged off to church in my suit, like usual. My face was all cut up and bruised. While I was embarrassed at the way I looked, knowing that everyone thought I was a bad, evil kid, today I note how interesting that no one asked questions, such as "did kidnappers do this?" I guess everyone in the church, and even the priest, knew I had simply ran away. And the cuts and bruises told people what happens to bad boys who run away from home for a week, in second grade. Kids in 2nd grade are supposed to know better. And I suspect most parents looked approvingly at my dad, that he knew how to discipline his Satanic adopted kid.

So when I see behavior like Mirkarimi's, it is Theo who I worry about. IMO it would be only a matter of time before Mirkarimi directed his anger and violence on to that innocent boy. IMO a man who is violent with a spouse will have no problem lashing out at his kids. And perhaps like my adopted dad, Mirkarimi thinks fists, belts and force are proper tools in raising children.

Bottom line: I applaud the police, DA, Judges, organizations, and community who got involved on this matter. I definitely appreciate those who expressed that protecting innocent children is paramount. After all, from the looks of things at Mirkarimi's swearing in, I don't think Theo is physically capable of protecting himself from Mirkarimi's fists.

Posted by MichaelSF on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

So sorry to hear this, Michael. Have you read "The Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier? I think you might find it useful. Best of luck you from a fellow adoptee.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

Didn't Ross have an affair with another woman as well, wearing women's underwear and such? It wasn't just bruising his wife's arm, it was two-timing as well. Or was that also not that big of a deal for a Sheriff?

See below:

Posted by GuesttoGuest on Mar. 30, 2012 @ 6:35 am