The legal case against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi may be over, but it seems as though the battle has only just begun.
On Monday, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment as part of a plea deal that spared him a lengthy domestic violence trial. Mirkarimi will, for now, remain Sheriff.
But in an interview rich with paternal tone, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told the San Francisco Chronicle that he is anything but satisfied with Mirkarimi's plea:
"There is a guilty plea here, and I know there's almost an attempt (by Mirkarimi) to deny that this has occurred: 'I didn't really do this. I'm being forced to do this,' That's very concerning to me, to be very honest with you," Gascon said in a meeting with The Chronicle editorial board.
"We're going to address this on Monday because we're not in the custom, not in the habit, of taking a guilty plea from somebody who is not guilty," he added. "If the defendant in this case believes he is not guilty, then we should go to trial and let a jury decide."
Public Defender Jeff Adachi called out Gascon's seemingly biased suspicion.
"Ross has already pled guilty and so he's already accepted the plea bargain," said Adachi to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "In the 25 years I've been practicing law, I've never seen a DA ask a person who already pled guilty to a plea bargain, 'Are you really, really sure you are guilty?' So it would be highly unusual for a prosecutor to do so, and even more unusual for the elected DA to do so in a misdemeanor case."
Meanwhile across town, anti-domestic violence advocates have voiced outrage, demanding that Mirkarimi step down.
The mayor should "take the necessary steps to ensure that victims of domestic violence in San Francisco feel safe seeing help from city law enforcement," said Beverly Upton of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium to SFWeekly. "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."
According to SFWeekly, Kathy Black of La Casa de las Madres even called the sheriff a "national embarrassment."
In the weeks after the alleged domestic violence incident, La Casa de las Madres raised funds to erect a billboard in San Francisco, reading: "Domestic Violence is NEVER a private matter" -- a nod to a comment Mirkarimi made about the allegations.
And of course, the San Francisco Chronicle's surly resident columnist C.W. Nevius had a few choice words about the plea, as well.
In a piece titled, "What's the point in removing lame-duck Mirkarimi," Nevius, who earlier called the domestic investigation a "soap opera," said he did not think the mayor should remove Mirkarimi from office, on the grounds that it would be too embarrassing for those involved and too emotionally draining on his wife. (Wouldn't it be nice if all of the accused enjoyed such sweeping considerations?) Nevius also implied that, not only is Mirkarimi a lame duck, but the office of San Francisco Sheriff is, as well.
In fairness, Nevius did point out that Mayor Lee may have a tough time removing Mirkarimi from office -- a strong point that other voices have echoed as well.
In sum: it looks like neither Mirkarimi nor San Francisco has not seen the end of this saga.
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