Reporting Chris Filippi
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/BCN)— The San Francisco Ethics Commission agreed on some ground rules that could make it easier for the panel to recommend that suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi be permanently removed from his office.
The administrative hearing on official misconduct charges is tentatively scheduled to go before the commission on June 19th.
Mirkarimi pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he grabbed and bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez, during an argument.
He was sentenced to three years’ probation and other penalties and was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee.
Dozens of Mirkarimi supporters packed the six-hour long ethics panel meeting at City Hall to decry Sheriff Mirkarimi’s suspension by Mayor Ed Lee. Mirkarimi said he will fight the effort to force him from his job.
Under the city charter, Mirkarimi has the right to defend himself at a hearing, but his attorney Shepard Kopp said, “In our view the only two witnesses that definitely should be testifying are Sheriff Mirkarimi and Mayor Lee.”
Mirkarimi called the process undemocratic and unconstitutional, vowing to do everything he can to make sure this does not happen in San Francisco.
Ethics Commission members decided it will only take a simple majority vote to pass a recommendation on Mirkarimi to the Board of Supervisors.
The panel will also allow live testimony from witnesses including Mayor Lee and Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez.
“We are trying to show that the acts here that are being alleged are in relation to the sheriff’s duties and the standards of conduct for a chief law enforcement official,” said Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser.
There’s no word yet whether a video showing a tearful and bruised Lopez will be made public. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the video could be released for use at the administrative hearing over the objections of the attorneys of Lopez and Mirkarimi.
KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:
Meanwhile, Kopp said arrangements for Lopez, who has gone back to her native Venezuela to care for her ill father, could be made for her to testify via video if she cannot return to the U.S. for the hearing.
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