Prosecutors might have let Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi off the hook with charges of abusing his wife, but women's groups across San Francisco aren't quite so ready to forgive. Today, a coalition of anti-domestic violence groups will march to City Hall, demanding that Mayor Ed Lee boot Mirkarimi from his post as the county's top cop.
As the sheriff stated earlier this week, he has no plans to step down after pleading guilty to false imprisonment in connection to domestic violence charges involving his wife, Eliana Lopez. Mirkarimi was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts, including battery and child endangerment, a few days after he had been sworn in as the new county sheriff.
Earlier this week, prosecutors agreed to drop all three charges in exchange for a guilty plea for false imprisonment. Mirkarimi will be forced to attend domestic violence counseling while on probation for three years.
But that's not satisfying San Franciscans who can't get their heads around the twisted irony that our county sheriff, who was booked into his own jail, will now be booking criminals himself.
The mayor should "take the necessary steps to ensure that victims of
domestic violence in San Francisco feel safe seeking help from city law enforcement," said Beverly Upton, of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium. "If
Mirkarimi does not step down immediately, then we must rely on Mayor Lee
and the Board to remove him. The legal system worked and now the
political system must do its job."
But as we reported earlier, Lee's hands are tied on this one; it won't be easy for the mayor to fire the sheriff, an elected official.
Still, that's not stopping Kathy Black of La Casa de las Madres, a domestic violence group, from calling the Mirkarimi saga "a national embarrassment."
"That Sheriff Mirkarimi thinks he can plead guilty one minute and swear to 'move forward' as Sheriff in the next is
simply unacceptable," she said. "I don't see how he can 'move forward'
without first taking real responsibility. "
And let's not forget, La Casa de las Madres is part of the coalition of advocates which successfully raised thousands of
dollars to put up a billboard riffing off Mirkarimi's distasteful statement in response to his own charges of domestic violence, calling it a "private matter, a family matter."
The group plastered its message on the billboard at the corner of Harrison and 10th streets, reminding commuters that "Domestic Violence is never a private matter."
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