Reporting Barbara Taylor
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Advocate groups for victims of domestic violence gathered on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall Thursday to urge Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to resign.
Mirkarimi, 50, pleaded guilty earlier this week to a charge of misdemeanor false imprisonment to avoid a trial on charges connected to an alleged domestic violence incident on Dec. 31 involving his wife, Eliana Lopez.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday to three years’ probation, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, 100 hours of community service, and will have to pay nearly $600 in fines and fees along with attending family counseling.
Mirkarimi said following his guilty plea that he does not plan to step down as sheriff, which drew the ire of the couple of dozen advocates who gathered outside City Hall Thursday afternoon.
KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:
Beverly Upton, executive director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, a network of more than a dozen local agencies, called the case “a national embarrassment for this beautiful, world-class city.”
Upton and many of the other advocates held a similar news conference two months ago calling on Mirkarimi to step aside after the allegations against him first came to light.
This case “is about trust, and mine is broken,” she said. “We want to send a message to victims and witnesses that they can step forward, that this is a safe city and we care.”
In agreement was Kathy Black, executive director of La Casa de las Madres, another organization dedicated to helping domestic violence victims. The group raised money to put up a billboard inspired by the case in the city’s South of Market neighborhood last month.
“The bottom line is we feel it would be improper for the San Francisco sheriff to be overseeing programs and imposing domestic violence sentencing on inmates when he was convicted under similar circumstances,” Black said.
“It would be best for everybody involved if he would step aside, and if Sheriff Mirkarimi will not do the right thing, then the mayor and the Board of Supervisors must,” she said.
Under the City Charter, the mayor has the power to suspend Mirkarimi as sheriff for official misconduct, which would lead to a hearing by the city’s Ethics Commission.
The Ethics Commission would then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which would need the approval of nine of the 11 supervisors to remove him from office.
Lee said earlier this week that he is consulting with the city attorney’s office on his options, but does not plan to make a decision until after Mirkarimi is sentenced next week.
“We know Mayor Lee is a very cautious, thoughtful individual. He’s going to take his time and going to make the right decision,” Upton said. “He has our complete support.”
Mirkarimi was not available for comment Thursday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s spokeswoman, Susan Fahey, who said he was in meetings all day.
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