Anti-domestic violence activists want Mirkarimi out

March 15, 2012 9:25:38 PM PDT
Several anti-domestic violence activists are demanding that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee force out Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. He was charged recently with abusing his wife, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of false imprisonment.

"We're here to address what we think and believe the mayor thinks is a national embarrassment," San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium spokesperson Beverly Upton said.

It's the second time the group, representing 17 anti-domestic violence agencies, has gathered on the steps of City Hall to express their outrage over Mirkarimi. This week he pleaded guilty to a charge of false imprisonment in connection with the alleged abuse of his wife. The activists are now demanding his immediate removal from office.

"The bottom line is we feel it would be improper for the sheriff to oversee programs and impose domestic violence sentences on inmates when he was convicted under similar circumstances," Upton said.

But for now Mirkarimi is back on the job, and very busy we're told.

"He's promoted two captains this week and a new deputy chief and we just put a new reorganization plan in place yesterday," sheriff's department spokesperson Susan Fahey said.

Since the sheriff has no intention of stepping down, the activists are stepping up the pressure on the mayor -- who can suspend the sheriff and then, under the city's charter, Lee would give reasons in writing to the ethics commission. The commission would hold a hearing and pass its decision on to the board of supervisors who would then cast the deciding votes.

The mayor has said he won't make any decision before Mirkarimi's scheduled sentencing on Monday.

"We have every confidence he'll do the best he possibly can and we're hoping he'll move this issue forward with the ethics committee," Upton said.

For his part, the sheriff sent ABC7 a text message Thursday regarding the rally by the activists outside City Hall saying, "I've been an ally and enthusiastic advocate for the anti-domestic violence community and will continue to be throughout my career. I'm more than happy to meet with them to move forward on critical issues."

Thursday, District Attorney George Gascon expressed doubts about the sincerity of Mirkarimi's guilty plea. He says he plans to raise his concerns at Mirkarimi's sentencing.

Mirkarimi's attorney says he has accepted responsibility for what happened and is actively pursuing counseling.


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