SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A majority of San Franciscans (54%) think newly sworn-in Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi should either take a leave of absence or resign from office while police conduct their investigation into domestic violence allegations against him, according to a KPIX-TV CBS 5 poll.
“I believe he should step aside right now until the investigation is complete,” said Sharon Johnson, former executive director of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, who shares the view of the bulk of those surveyed. She led a rally on the steps of City Hall Thursday to demand that Mirkarimi resign, as his wife – who is at the center of the abuse allegations – ironically looked on.
What’s more, if the District Attorney’s Office files charges against him (which could occur as soon as Friday afternoon according to CBS 5 Insider and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Phil Matier), then 80% of San Franciscans believe he should either take a leave or resign, the poll found. If ultimately convicted of domestic violence, only 9% would support the sheriff staying in office.
RELATED CONTENT: Download The Complete CBS 5 Poll Results (.pdf)
Mirkarimi has not been talking publicly about his situation, but a spokesman for the sheriff reacted to the CBS 5 poll by saying that Mirkarimi had no intentions of quitting his job.
Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, who conducted the swearing-in of Mirkarimi earlier this week, said he was not surprised by the poll’s findings.
“I know they (Mirkarimi and his wife) love each other, care about each other and they are very deeply worried about this because it does not reflect their relationship,” Agnos said.
When asked if he thought Mirkarimi could carry on with business as usual while under a cloud of suspicion, Agnos replied: “He has a bad public relations problem now, whether it’s fair or not. In politics, you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
According to a police affidavit, a neighbor reported that Mirkarimi grabbed and bruised wife Eliana Lopez’s right arm during a heated argument at their home on New Year’s Eve. During an SFPD search of the couple’s home, investigators seized a video camera and iPhone used to exchange text messages about the injury.
Mirkarimi has previously denied the allegations, while Lopez – a former Venezuelan telenovela star – contended the incident was taken out of context. The couple after they had their first child in 2009.
The CBS 5 poll of 650 San Francisco adults was conducted by the firm SurveyUSA on Jan. 11th and 12th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.4%.
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