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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ross Mirkarimi Refuses to Resign as Sheriff; Mayor to Charge Him with Official Misconduct

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM


Despite political pressure and calls within the community for his resignation, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi announced just now that he will not step down as county sheriff.

Mirkarimi told reporters waiting outside his office at City Hall that he believes he is still qualified to run the county jails, despite the fact that he was booked into his own county jail after he was arrested and charged for battery and child endangerment earlier this year.

"At this point, I do not plan to resign," Mirkarimi told reporters. "I do not believe the conduct I have taken -- taken responsibility for constitutes official misconduct within the meaning of the law, and I look forward to taking my case to the Ethics Commission."

Mirkarimi, who pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in connection to a New Year's Eve dispute with his wife, had until 4 p.m. today to decide whether he would resign at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee, or allow for the city to move forward with officially firing him as sheriff.

SF Weekly staff writer Peter Jamison is at City Hall, where Lee told reporters that he will immediately take action to oust Mirkarimi from his post.

"I met with Sheriff Mirkarimi yesterday, and gave him the opportunity to resign. He has chosen not to resign, and now I must act," Lee said. "I have informed the sheriff he will be served charges [of official misconduct] tomorrow."

Lee continued, "Sheriff Mirkarimi's actions and his admission of guilt fall below the standards of decency and good faith rightly expected of public officials."

Even Mirkarimi's closest allies are calling on him to resign. Aaron Peskin, a San Francisco progressive and chair of the Democratic Party, issued a statement this afternoon, saying Mirkarimi has no business being the sheriff.

"San Franciscans want and deserve a functional, wholly functioning City government -- one that embodies the values that we all hold dearly," Peskin said. "Ross shares those values of restorative justice and redemption, and by stepping aside, he can seek to mend his relationships and family, his publicly stated priorities."

Mirkarimi will be forced to take a leave of absence from his post as sheriff while he is under investigation. Lee appointed Vicki Hennessy, a former chief deputy in the sheriff's department, to lead the office in Mirkarimi's absence.

Reporters continued to pepper Mirkarimi with questions, especially after he claimed he and his wife, Eliana Lopez, never got a chance to tell their side of the story.

But when reporters pushed to find out the details of what happened that day when Mirkarimi allegedly bruised his wife during a domestic dispute, they didn't get straight answers. One reporter asked the sheriff whether he did in fact cause a bruise to Lopez's upper arm, to which Mirkarimi said:  "I'm going to let my wife speak to that."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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