Sheriff Mirkarimi charged with domestic violence

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DA George Gascón announces the filing of charges against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
Steven T. Jones

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has been charged with three misdemeanors in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident against his wife, Eliana Lopez, on New Year's Eve, District Attorney George Gascón announced this afternoon. Gascón said a restraining order has been issued that bars Mirkarimi from contacting his wife and child and that bail has been set at $35,000, although he was unaware whether Mirkarimi had been booked yet.

Mirkarimi is being charged with one misdemeanor each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness from testifying. Gascón said their young son, Theo, was present during the incident. Lopez has refused to speak with investigators, but she has publicly denied that her husband has ever abused her.

Mirkarimi has maintained his innocence, as he did again with Lopez by his side during a City Hall press conference held simultaneously with Gascón's press conference at the Hall of Justice. "We believe that these charges are very unfounded and we will fight those charges. I'm confident in the end that we will succeed,” Mirkarimi said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. It was unclear whether the appearance with Lopez violated the restraining order.

Gascón confirmed press reports that Lopez had communicated via text message about the incident with the neighbor who ultimately contacted police – although he refused to disclose or characterize the contents of the communications – and that there was a photo taken of an injury to Lopez's arm. He also said there are indications that this was not an isolated incident and the investigation is continuing. “We have heard there have been other instances,” Gascón said.

The fact that the charges were misdemeanors wouldn't require Mirkarimi's removal from the office he assumed just last weekend if he's convicted, but he has already been required to relinquish any weapons, including his service revolver. He faces a year in jail and three years probation on the charges.

“While we do not relish having to bring charges against a San Francisco elected official, I have taken an oath to uphold the laws of the state of California and as the chief law enforcement officer for the city and county of San Francisco it is my solemn duty to bring criminal charges when the evidence supports such action. No one is above the law,” Gascón said. “Whether this was the elected Sheriff or any other San Francisco resident, this type of behavior is inexcusable, criminal, and will be prosecuted.”

Gascón also said that while Lopez has refused to cooperate, he believes there is ample evidence to bring charges. “A case is always stronger if the victim is willing to testify. However, it is very common for victims to be uncooperative in domestic violence cases," Gascón said, noting that his office filed 771 domestic violence cases last year. He also said, “Regardless of whether the victim supports a prosecution, it is the state's and my office's obligation to ensure the safety of the victim.”

Comments

treated. He's not getting special treatment either way, and should not.

If he was let off just because of who he is, there would be outrage.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 10:01 am

Meanwhile it is ok to let off Newsom appointees for even worse.

"Chief's husband said he feared for his kids / In 911 tape"

http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-06-24/bay-area/17376467_1_domestic-viole...

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

That is why we have a DA - to make the decision as to whether enough evidence exists to charge the perpetrator with a crime. It sounds as if in the Mirkarimi case there is physical evidence including pictures and video as well as a witness. There also appear to have been multiple episodes of this type of behavior.

You have now posted the same thing 10-12 times. You're trying to change the discussion from Mirkarimi to another alleged case and making the argument that since others are alleged to have gotten away with DV then Ross should get away with it too. That is not going to work.

And FYI - the Sheriff is not an "appointed" position so your argument doesn't make any sense. Ed Lee cannot fire Mirkarimi as he can Joanna Hayes-White. The DA is also an elected position and as such does not answer to the mayor. You keep suggesting that Ed Lee is telling George Gascon what to do but the DA's office is independent of the mayor. Why would the mayor be organizing a vast conspiracy to "get" Mirkarimi? Did he sneak into the Mirkarimi home that evening, grab Ross's hand and use it to hit Eliana then push Eliana outside the home and force her to confide in Ivory as well?

How far does the conspiracy to "get" Ross Mirkarimi go?

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

H. Monk you haven't read this.

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/3318/mayor-ready-to-pull-the-tri...

"Mayor Preparing to Pull Trigger On Sheriff?"

"“The charges filed today by the District Attorney are extremely serious and troubling. As elected officials, our primary responsibility and focus must always be to fulfill our duties to the people of San Francisco.
“As Mayor, I must now review the facts and options available to me under the City Charter, but I must also ensure that we do not take steps that undermine the integrity of the criminal justice proceedings underway.”

If the Mayor feels so strongly about DV he should fire his Fire Chief immediately.

When I first read that the fire chief claimed her spouse hit himself on the head twice with a bottle I thought it was the statement from someone not in their right mind.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

it would seem the mayor has no grounds to demand her resignation. You understand the difference do you not? Ross Mirkarimi has been charged with 3 counts of domestic violence. Joanna wasn't charged, as a matter of fact the DA at the time, Kamala Harris, felt there was insufficient evidence to issue an indictment. The investigation was closed with no charges filed - which generally happens where the evidence doesn't exist to take the case to trial.

You keep comparing a 911 transcript to an indictment - as if the two are even remotely similar.

What I find incredible about this line of reasoning is that you're not even trying to defend Ross - you're simply saying other people have gotten away with it before so Ross should also get away with it - because he's a progressive (or something like that).

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

The mayor DOESN'T NEED "GROUNDS"

Since she serves at the pleasure of the Mayor he can fire her for no reason at all whenever he wants.

Since he chose to issue a statement expressing that DV is "extremely serious and troubling" he has a sitting Fire Chief who accused her husband of hitting himself over the head twice with a bottle after he called 911 expressing fear for his children and demanding the DA file charges.

There was no indictment because there was no evidence. Gosh wonder why.

"According to the computer-assisted dispatch log of the incident that the department released Thursday, two patrol officers were the first to arrive at the house at 6:28 p.m.

The supervising lieutenant at Taraval station, Belinda Kerr, ordered them away at 6:53 p.m. and oversaw the scene herself. It is unclear why, although another police investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision had been made out of "respect" for Hayes-White."

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

No it's not ok. But its a bit late to be talking now.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

It is NOT too late to talk about it. The fire chief accused her husband of hitting himself over the head with a pint glass twice!!!!!!

And the SFPD apparently covered it up if you bothered to read the article, which I urge you to do.....

"According to the computer-assisted dispatch log of the incident that the department released Thursday, two patrol officers were the first to arrive at the house at 6:28 p.m.

The supervising lieutenant at Taraval station, Belinda Kerr, ordered them away at 6:53 p.m. and oversaw the scene herself. It is unclear why, although another police investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision had been made out of "respect" for Hayes-White."

Gosh not enough evidence. Wonder why?????

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

I don't think the statute of limitations has expired on this. If Gascon's really so concerned about domestic violence, he can still charge.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

No, it's passed. That was six years ago.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 2:35 am

"I sense another progressive schism happening here, cut along gender lines."

If the comments from progressive women at fcj are any indication, I don't think you'll see that at all.

So far, most of the comments I see against Ross are from non-progressive men.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 10:55 am

Was it only eight years ago I stood side by side with Ross Mirkarimi in Matt Gonazlez's historic Green Party struggle to be elected mayor? We were so idealistic then. We were young and strong.

And was it only 12 years ago that Ross helped start the California Green Party and launch Ralph Nader's historic run for the presidency that captured nearly 2.5 percent of the vote?

How what has happened? Our own Ross up for domestic violence charges. It makes me sick! It makes me sick, sick, sick!

Posted by Mary Jane Prattlefore on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

"Hayes-White told police that her husband had hit himself over the head with the glass."

-sfgate

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

I find all the Hayes-White posts immaterial. It isn't a defense to abusing your wife to claim "the fire chief wasn't charged, so I shouldn't be either." Jeez. The DA said he charges over 750 DV cases a year.

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

Why are you continuously defending partisan prosecution?

You want ppl who read your posts to not notice that one group of ppl (progressives, enemies of cops) are being charged while another are not (cops and firefighers).

Though you're right that just because one category of ppl (cops and fire fighers) are not being charged by the DA - even though they have the same accusations against them as the ones being charged - is not proof that the group being charged is innocent, it's still CORRUPTION - a wicked terrible corruption - if this is going on.

You want ppl to ignore the corruption of selective prosecution - not gonna happen. That kind of corruption really pisses ppl off and ppl will never ignore that.

And WHY ARE YOU ignoring it??? It's okay in your book apparently.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

How have I been "continuously" advocating for "partisan corruption." Not charging someone is not corruption. It's prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors are ethically bound not to charge unless they believe (i) a crime was committed and (ii) that they can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Lots and lots and lots of crimes don't get charged.

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 16, 2012 @ 9:44 am

Or are you purposefully misrepresenting the argument that is being made?

The argument is NOT that Ross should "get off the hook" because Hayes-White did.

The argument is that there is very little evidence of wrongdoing on Ross's part... considering that his wife has no complaints, there doesn't appear to be any previous pattern of abuse, his ex vouches for him, etc. All they have is a video of a bruise and hearsay evidence directly contradicted by everyone involved. I've had bruises on my arm too, you know. If the police happen to see a bruise on my arm, would they assume my spouse did it and come and arrest her without me even so much as making a complaint? Of course not!

So the question is why is Ross being charged on such flimsy evidence? Why is the viciousness with which the DA is tearing his family apart so over-the-top?

Well here's where the Hayes-White case can shed some light on things. The evidence in that case was much stronger, and yet both Harris, and her endorsed successor, both aligned with the same political faction, are refusing to pursue that case. But Gascon is going after Ross, where the evidence is much weaker. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, this isn't being done out of the purest motives? That maybe this is being done for poltical reasons?

Why is this so hard to understand?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

getting it because I don't share your pro-Mirkarimi bias. You say the evidence is flimsy, but all we know about the evidence is what the media is reporting. In a DV case, having a video and text messages corroborating the incident are more than what a prosecutor usually has; it's often just a he said-she said.

With respect to your example, the police didn't just see a bruise on the victim's arm and assume her spouse did it. A neigbor, after being concerned enough to videotape the injury, called the police.

I am not here to defend Hayes-White (know little about her), but saying that the prosecutor is presently "refusing to pursue the case" is a misnomer. That incident happened more than 4 years ago. Do you really think Gascon took office, and thought he should take a fresh look at all the cases that the previous DA declined to prosecute?

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 10:41 am

It is telling that Newsom supporters don't see the big deal in covering up the abuse by one of its appointees while pretty much throwing the book at a political rival for less.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

They are claiming Ross is "innocent" for no reason other than that he is a left-winger.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

I think the exact phrase was "innocent until proven guilty" but don't let that stop you.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

No, because he doesn't want to add a perjury count to his growing rap sheet.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

He has said that these allegations are unfounded and that he will fight the charges against him. And that he is confident that he and his wife will succeed in proving ing that all three charges are baseless (Eliana said the same thing).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

The political aspect becomes sharply focused when you compare how they treat one of there own vs how they overcharge someone who has not been politically "loyal," I think was the word Willie Brown used during the Lee inauguration?

The Fire Chief serves at the pleasure of the Mayor, or in this case, at the pleasure of Rose Pak and Willie Brown?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

What total BS. Why doesn't he fire the Fire Chief if the charges are "extremely" serious and troubling, since the circumstances are even worse for her?

“The charges filed today by the District Attorney are extremely serious and troubling. As elected officials, our primary responsibility and focus must always be to fulfill our duties to the people of San Francisco." -- Ed Lee

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

If he hides behind the 5th, it looks like he has something to hide.

While if he testifies, then he has to either admit the assault or lie, which will compound his problems.

It might be simpler if he simply resigned and writes this off to (lack of ) experience.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

"It might be simpler if he simply resigned and writes this off to (lack of ) experience. "

I wouldn't be surprised if the DA just happens to offer to drop the charges if he resigns. After all, that will be Mission Accomplished, right?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

No DA would make that kind of deal, since it has nothing to do with the charges or the wife and kid.

It's weird, the people who are the most obsessed with the conspiracy are those who want to conspire themselves, they think everyone thinks the way they do.

Most people out there in the world don't think in these conspiracy terms.

Posted by Matlock on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

Tell it to the Guest who brought it up. He's on your side, you know.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 11:34 pm
Posted by matlock on Jan. 16, 2012 @ 11:33 am

I think this is all bit overblown, although I think Mirkarimi is a monumental A-hole I don't really get any satisfaction out this being so over cooked...

But what I didn't see coming is the Nixon like paranoia of some here. This paranoid conspiracy non sense is really amazing. I'm waiting to read about an enemies list and a break in some place next.

The average progressive isn't wound too tight but these crazy assed "the establishment is out to get our hero Ross" are way over board.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

If Ed Lee were to fire Joanne Hayes- White he would be on firmer moral ground, because in all honest according to the 911 transcript she sounds like a violent b*tch.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

If the mayor truly thought the charges against Mirkarimi are "extremely serious and troubling" he would be compelled to fire Joanne Hayes- White immediately.

Restraining a man from seeing his children is a new low in San Francisco politics. I hope it does not go unanswered.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

have to do with this? Did the mayor restrain anyone at any time?

Posted by matlock on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

The mayor released this statement:

“The charges filed today by the District Attorney are extremely serious and troubling. As elected officials, our primary responsibility and focus must always be to fulfill our duties to the people of San Francisco.
“As Mayor, I must now review the facts and options available to me under the City Charter, but I must also ensure that we do not take steps that undermine the integrity of the criminal justice proceedings underway.”

Fog City Journal - 'Mayor Preparing to Pull Trigger on Sheriff?'

If the mayor feels this strongly he has a Fire Dept. Chief that according to her husband's 911 transcript is a violent DV psycho.

Just thinking how long I'd go to jail for smashing a pint glass over someone's head. Twice.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

The mayor should but out until there is a conviction.

This is getting ridiculous.

Thanks.

Posted by Matlock on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

Is he now?

And why do you think that is? Maybe it's because the mayor, and the political establishment he represents, don't want Ross in there in the first place?

Hmmm.... could it be?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 8:14 am

Everything is grist for the conspiracy mill.

What if he did the opposite, you would be saying he was silent because he was waiting for Gascon to do his dirty work.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

Except there were never any formal charges filed against the fire chief.

There was an investigation done by the independent DA, which determined that there was not enough evidence to charge the case.

So no, the Mayor, who was not Mayor at the time of the 911 call or investigation, has no moral imperative to ask for the resignation of a non-law enforcement official for accusations made in the middle of a divorce that were investigated found to be non-credible.

All the Mayor said was "The Charges", are serious, as they, the three formal charges, are actually quite serious.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

Uh, I think you've got a lunatic loose cannon on the board. He's starting to make the rest of you look completely sane - which is quite a feat. All this talk about Hayes white and gascon needing to show proof.

Mental illness has never been so entertaining!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

I agree with the first post by David Elliot Lewis and others who are in support of the Sheriff.
Let's talk about that "evidence." We do not know if anything was edited out, we do not know if they were rehearsing a scene, or if Eliana was giving her acting lessons for that matter...
And if the neighbor was "so worried," why wait four days to call 911? Shouldn't she have called on New Years Eve so the police could take a current report and ensure that Eliana and Theo are safe?
Next time I see a building on fire, I guess I can wait four days to call 911?

Why was there no bruise after only four days? Bruises take a week or more to fade. Police did not observe any bruise only four days after the alleged attack.
The restraining order is OVER THE TOP. Theo cannot talk to his daddy by phone or Skype? Those two adore each other, and now the state is abusing Theo by denying him loving contact with his father.

Posted by Tami on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

almost any DA arrest.

But notice there are two other charges including trying to influence a witness. It is that latter charge that may be the worst of all - how can we trust a Sheriff who thinks the integrity of witnesses is negotiable?

We know the bruise was there because there are witnesses and video. Neither Ross or his wife have denied the bruise. And some people heal more quickly than others.

Ross needs to waive his right to the 5th and tell us what he did - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Else he will have no credibility.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

Why hasn't Hennessy weighed in on this?

His opinion would carry a lot of weight.

Posted by The piper on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

If not, then what can Mike add?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

Domestic Violence issues involving law enforcement employees is a all to common occurrence that is for the most part kept secret from the civilian community as well as the news media. Although the cops will arrest a civilian in a quick second, they will go to great lengths to sweep domestic violence allegations against their own under the rug. Take for instance the Alameda County Sheriffs Department, where the head of the Internal Affairs Division, Captain Kelly Miles, has long been accused of domestic violence committed against his spouse who also happens to be a sheriffs department dispatcher. These allegations first arose when Captain Miles was a patrol deputy. Allegations were swept under the rug by the command staff, no action was ever taken. Not only has he now been awarded the rank of Captain, but a Captain in charge of Internal Affairs nonetheless. This is just one example of many many many domestic violence allegations involving law enforcement personnel. But law enforcement by and large is a community where domestic violence acts , as well as other violations of the law, often rewards the offenders instead of punishing them.

Posted by HellsDawg on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

Hmmm,

I find this posting very interesting and would love to know who this is. HellsDawg...since you have your information incorrect. I was married to Captain (then Deputy) Kelly Miles and had 3 children with him. I was his (spouse) and the Dispatcher (Tracy) of whom you speak lives with him currently and has a beautiful daughter with him. I remember the event in which you speak and funny knowing her issues back then she was the hot head. This was during our divorce when he lived with her. Then he went on to marry another Deputy that is a wonderful woman and was an incredible step mother to my children. Of course her and I have had several talks regarding our marraiges and very open and honest discussions at that. And there was NEVER an instance of domestic violence between them either.
Of course going through a divorce was extremly difficult for Mr. Miles...however I must say that after 7 1/2 years of marraige he was NEVER violent with either myself or any of his children. There is reason for the both of us not being together any longer, however that is not one of them.
Although Captain Miles and myself are no longer married, I have great respect for what he does and with personal issues aside, has proven to be a decent and respectible man. Be REALLY careful about dragging someones name throught the mud! Ignorant people are far to quick to believe such things...

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2012 @ 11:38 am

The amount of vitriol around this issue is absolutely ridiculous. The only people politicizing this issue are Tim Redmond and the handful of progressive idiots posting to this blog and every other Bay Area news outlet covering this issue. Tim should be embarrassed for his hacktastic "blame the moderates" piece that started this for his hack-tastic

Let's go over a couple of facts, namely --

(1) The claims of DV in this case came from a Ross Mirkarimi SUPPORTER and from his WIFE;
(2) It is not reasonable or appropriate for the DA to "prove" these allegations at the time charges are filed; and
(3) Ross Mirkarimi deserves the benefit of presumed innocence, but not exoneration. The allegations reported in the media are credible and troubling, but not conclusive.

Let's let this play out through the legal system before going off the deep end and blaming this on some giant conspiracy - which it isn't.

Finally - It's absolutely ridiculous to blame moderates on this situation. Moderates have already won by claiming a majority on the BOS, the mayor, and the DA. Further, moderates don't see the role of Sheriff as particularly important to their core issues - which are primarily economic.

The mayor and the DA did not seek this case, and stand to gain very little from its prosecution. However, their handling of this matter has been sensitive and struck an appropriate balance between political sensitivities and the law. Unfortunately for Ross, he has handled this in his signature gas bag style to which we have sadly become accustomed.

Posted by Paul Noe Valley on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

Now let's see the Prog's wailing and gnashing their teeth in faux anguish.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

Best post so far.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2012 @ 1:04 am

Mirikirimi has been charged by the DA in a criminal domestic violence case in this alleged incident. Hayes-White was not charged by the then-DA Kamala Harris with any crime in her alleged incident. Neither case had anything to do with the Mayor of SF. Mirikirimi is toast politically, and to think he will be able to lead the Sheriff's Department at this point is a completew joke.

Posted by Richmondman on Jan. 15, 2012 @ 8:05 pm