Domestic Violence Groups Call For SF Sheriff Mirkarimi To Resign

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A coalition of domestic violence victim advocates Thursday called for San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to resign following an alleged incident involving his wife on New Year’s Eve.

Members of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, a network of more than a dozen local agencies, gathered outside City Hall to call on Mirkarimi to step aside from his post, even though no charges have been filed by the district attorney’s office.

“We cannot have elected officials who are under investigation,” said Sharon Johnson, former executive director of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. “These are very serious allegations.”

The case was reported by a neighbor after Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, allegedly showed her a bruise on her arm, according to a search warrant affidavit. During a police search, investigators seized a video camera and iPhone used to exchange text messages about the injury.

Lopez has denied the allegations and is not cooperating with investigators.

District Attorney George Gascon said Thursday he is still mulling whether to file charges, saying a decision will come “either (Friday) or early next week.”

Beverly Upton, executive director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, said, “I am not the judge, nor am I the jury” and said “I think the right thing will be done” by the district attorney.

But “we are here to say ‘Enough,’” said Upton, who had been invited to serve on Mirkarimi’s transition team after he was elected sheriff in November.

He was just sworn in to the post on Sunday after serving on the Board of Supervisors for seven years.

Minouche Kandel, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases for the group Bay Area Legal Aid, said Mirkarimi should “take a public stand that he takes domestic violence seriously.”

Kandel said if Mirkarimi does not step aside, Mayor Ed Lee should look into his options for removing him from office.

Lee earlier on Thursday declined comment on what he might do, saying he wanted to wait until he sees whether charges are filed in the case.

“It’s very tempting to try to answer that question, because obviously I’ve been thinking about it, but I think it’s my duty not to make any comments until there’s been a decision made by the district attorney,” he said.

Lee said he has not talked to Mirkarimi since the allegations came to light.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Fahey said this afternoon that Mirkarimi was declining to comment on the news conference by the domestic violence victim advocates and wished to refer all comments to his attorney, Bob Waggener.

Waggener was not available for comment this afternoon. However, he said earlier today that, given the circumstances of the case, if charges are filed against Mirkarimi, he expects them to be misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors say that if Mirkarimi is convicted of a domestic violence charge, even a misdemeanor, he would have to give up his department-issued gun and could be subject to searches as terms of probation.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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