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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ross Mirkarimi, Eliana Lopez Talk About How That Bruise Really Screwed Things Up for Them

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM


Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco's suspended sheriff, has been on an emotional and political roller coaster this year after being elected sheriff, then losing his post -- at least temporarily -- after bruising his wife's arm in a domestic dispute. Now, Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, are trying to go back to the way things were (is that a good thing?).

But a "normal life" might be hard to reach after the couple was forcibly separated, faced months of public scrutiny, and now might have to stand there and watch Mirkarimi's political career go up in flames.

And still, there's so much more people want to know. To get a better picture of their home life, NBC's Raj Mathai sat down with the stars of San Francisco's very own telenovela -- the sheriff and his wife -- in an exclusive interview.

In summary, the beleaguered couple told Mathai how this case has screwed their personal lives.

Mirkarimi maintained a fairly cool tone during the conversation, while his wife snapped with her typically more volatile reactions.

Here are some of our favorite highlights from the interview, with our added two cents:

Raj: As a sheriff, you work with domestic abuse victims. Is there irony in all of this. Are you part of the problem in all of this?

Ross: I like to believe I'm part of the solution and forward thinking. We should  not fall prey to old counter-intuitive thinking of the old criminal justice system.

Have you ever noticed how often he says those phrases? You will now.

Raj: Excuse me, it sounds more like a political soundbite. Just me and you, straightforward. Is there irony in what you're doing?

A simple yes-or-no question.

Ross: I think there is a level of empathy that I'm also enhanced by that would make me even more of an effective sheriff.

Fails to answer with a yes or a no. Instead, Mirkarimi seems to think that his actions toward his wife make him a more effective sheriff. Huh.

Raj: Can the sheriff do this job with this on his record?

Ross: Absolutely.

Well, the inmates over at San Francisco County Jail certainly think so.

Ross continues: And it's important to not fall prey to very old or conventional ways of thinking in the criminal justice system, which in many ways is counter-intuitive to be scarred and disqualified.

There are those buzz phrases again.

: I think the right example is by showing one can turn their lives around and still be able to be that elected official. It does not disqualify from me being sheriff. That's why I took the plea, to put the matter behind us ... so I could regroup and reunite with my family, so I could regroup with the people of San Francisco. We talk a good game about restorative justice. We talk a good game about rehab. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd become an example of this in this respect. I think it's time that there is leadership that shows and delivers on what rehabilitation means.

And finally, despite Mirkarimi's dedication to the city of San Francisco, his future here may depend on whether he gets his job back.

Raj: If you don't get your job back, will you work again in San Francisco?

Ross: Plan B or Plan C is for another interview.

Eliana: But we are a family. We love each other; we have a beautiful son.

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Suzanne Stathatos


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