Will Ross Mirkarimi Resign? Pressure Mounts Over San Francisco Sheriff's Conviction
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pressure mounted Tuesday at a tense City Hall for the mayor and other elected officials to address the domestic violence conviction of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
Mayor Ed Lee remained in his office as victim advocates and others called on him to start the process of removing the recently elected sheriff from office.
Lee's spokesman Francis Tsang said the mayor would address the issue later in the day.
Lee and Mirkarimi met for about 30 minutes late Monday after a judge sentenced the sheriff to three years of probation and ordered him to attend anti-domestic violence counseling for a year.
Mirkarimi previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment after bruising his wife's arm during a New Year's Eve argument in front of their toddler son.
Mirkarimi entered the plea in exchange for the dropping of three other misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, child endangerment and dissuading a witness.
Lee can start the process of removing Mirkarimi, but it would take the votes of nine of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors to accomplish that task. The matter would first be referred to the city's Ethics Commission if Lee decides to push for removal.
On Tuesday, Mirkarimi's next-door neighbor called on the sheriff to step down in an opinion article published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The neighbor, Abraham Mertens, alleged the sheriff's wife pressured him to destroy evidence and lie to police about what he knew about the incident. Neither Mertens nor the sheriff responded to requests for comment.
After the brief meeting at City Hall on Monday, Mirkarimi left the mayor's office via a back door and a rarely used staircase to get to his office. He said he had no comment when tracked down by reporters.
The plea deal was struck as a jury was picked for a trial that promised to embarrass the sheriff with testimony about infidelity, his temper and other intimate details.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said the false imprisonment charge was a domestic violence plea and the conviction was just as serious as the charges that were dropped.
Under the plea agreement, Mirkarimi must pay $590 in fines, serve probation, spend a year in a domestic violence intervention program, take parenting classes and do community service.
The district attorney said Mirkarimi will be barred from carrying a gun until a judge lifts a stay-away order still in place that prevents the sheriff from seeing his wife without court permission. Gascon said that order could stay in place for the entire three years of probation.
Mirkarimi also said he was undergoing counseling to address "my arrogance and anger management issues" and reiterated his advocacy against domestic violence while serving two-terms on the Board of Supervisors.