SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said Tuesday afternoon that he told Mayor Ed Lee he would not take a leave of absence from his job, despite being recently charged with three misdemeanors stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident.

Mirkarimi described the meeting with Lee as “cordial” and maintained that he could still do his job effectively while dealing with his personal legal troubles.

“We are doing exactly what we need to be doing” in the sheriff’s department and “it’s very important that I stick to the duties I’ve been ascribed to do,” he told reporters at City Hall following the meeting with Lee.

Lee said prior to the meeting that he would ask Mirkarimi to temporarily step down because his case had become a “distraction.” While the mayor has the power to suspend the newly sworn-in-sheriff, Lee indicated he would leave the decision up to Mirkarimi.

He said the mayor “rightfully comes from a sentiment of concern” because “the perception is this could be some sort of distraction.”

Mirkarimi is facing a trial for one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with domestic dispute with his wife, Eliana Lopez. Police and neighbors said it occurred at the couple’s home on New Year’s Eve, during which time their 2-year-old son Theo was present. The trial is set to start Feb. 24.

Mirkarimi, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, did say that he would not take pay for the days while he is on trial and noted that he also would recuse himself from any disciplinary cases involving sheriff’s deputies while his case is pending.

“I think it’s only principled that I would not take pay while I’m in trial,” he said. But when asked by reporters if he would actually step aside from his post during the trial, Mirkarimi replied, “We’ll see if it comes to that. We’ll see.”

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

During Mirkarimi’s arraignment in court last Thursday, Lopez spoke and denied that she had any complaint against her husband.

The case came to light after Lopez allegedly told her neighbor Ivory Madison about the Dec. 31 incident and Madison called the SFPD.

Mirkarimi will return to court this Thursday when his attorney Bob Waggener will ask a judge to remove a stay-away order that is preventing him from contacting his wife and son.

Also on Tuesday, Mirkarimi briefly addressed allegations from an ex-girlfriend who told police over the weekend that he was abusive to her during their relationship.

“We’re going to fight it,” he said of the new allegations.

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

Comments (12)
  1. hesacriminal says:

    The assistant DA charged with Domestic Violence over the weekend forced to take a leave of absents and not the Sheriff. WHY is Mirkarimi treated any differently????. Mirkarimi has become a biggest embarrassment to the city than any power failure yet the Mayor is not demanding his removal. A second women has also given a statement that Mirkarimi has abused her in the past, how many more women must come forward Mr. Mayor before you act.

  2. Walking Tall says:

    Arrogance; breeds Ignorance!

  3. SF observer says:

    Eyes wide shut!

    If this man had any real regard for the people he is pledged to serve he would step aside while he works to clear his name. His own public behavior on this matter is showing him to be a bully.

  4. bz says:

    Indecision and denial seem to be infectious. Seems were going to have a mayor
    incapable of making hard choices when it comes to the welfare of the city.

  5. Martin Matthews says:

    I would be a disgrace to our free society and due process of law that anyone be forced to “step aside” due only to allegations. I find it embarrassing to humanity that we are so eager to vilify the people we esteem so highly as to elect to office – in this regard, we the people, suck.

    Who knows what, if anything, is behind this – but we do have a legal system in place to ferret this out – and unless we trust that system, then again – we the people, suck.

    1. Lucy says:

      Oh shut up, the majority speaks here. This arrogant a hole needs to step down at least for now. It is embarrassing that the Sheriff of San Francisco is involved in any kind of scandal especially domestic violence.

    2. Big G says:

      You can’t be that naive can you? If a Police officer has an issue, he is immediately put on leave of absence. We the people do not suck, you might by choice. This is standard protocal is to step aside & defend yourself. The whole issue is about trust & he is putting the City & his office in jeporady with his actions. We the pelople did not alledgedly attack his wife. As for holding him in such high esteem, only a fool for an adult would put another man or woman on such lofty status!!

  6. Trudy Sanders says:

    This d**khead needs to go – now. Lee needs to push the issue. Due process notwithstanding – it’s the decent, professional thing to do. Even if he comes up clean – no one in this town will ever respect him after the way he’s handled himself during this “innocent until proven guilty” phase of his “career”.

  7. rs says:

    mayor lee needs to grow a pair. mirkarimi should step aside while he’s under investigation. he can take a leave of absence for now. if he’s found innocent (which i highly doubt he is) then he can come back.

  8. Big G says:

    What a jerk, time for the mayor to put an end to this guys power trip & suspend him. Between him & his wife & now his Lawyer, its becoming clear his arrogance & disregard for this city is in full display. His Lawyer is trying the case in the public opinion arena (even though he says he isn’t) & from my perspective he is losing that battle!!

  9. Ron Lenatti says:

    Would’nt the Progressive Party defend this decision of stepping aside and waiting for due process to run it’s course?
    Where are all the members of this Progressive Party in San Francisco in defense of one of their biggest and most popular members who now appears to be toxic? Maybe Ross should call Ed Jew and ask him what political disgrace feels like.

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