Mirkarimi will be reinstated as San Francisco Sheriff

October 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to reinstate San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi was taken off the job earlier this year after a domestic violence incident involving his wife.

Mirkarimi and his wife Eliana Lopez were greeted by throngs of supporters at City Hall Tuesday afternoon. Of the hundreds of people who lined up for the opportunity to attend and comment at the meeting, many seemed to be Mirkarimi supporters.

The meeting began promptly at 2 p.m. to a packed chamber and standing room only in two overflow rooms. Ethics Commission President Ben Hurr started things off by explaining how the commission came to the conclusion Mirkarimi was guilty official misconduct. Next, Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser presented the Mayor Ed Lee's case, asking the supervisors to uphold his suspension.

Attorney David Waggoner, who is representing Mirkarimi, spent much of the afternoon sitting in the chambers, listening intently.

Public comment began around 4:30 p.m. Most of the commenters seem to support Mirkarimi being reinstated. Supervisors took a brief recess from the comments before 7 p.m. before resuming to hear the remaining 30 or so commenters.

Removal of Mirkarimi required the vote of at least nine of the 11 supervisors. They voted 7-4 and only three votes were needed for him to keep his job. Supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, Jane Kim and Christina Olague declined to uphold the misconduct charges.

"It's been a long and crazy road, not just for our family but the family of San Francisco," Mirkarimi said after the hearing.

The mayor issued a statement late Tuesday night expressing disappointment with the board's vote.

"I strongly disagree with the action taken by Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Kim and Olague," Lee said.

Olague had been appointed by the mayor to replace Mirkarimi after he was elected sheriff last November and took office in January.

"The board's decision returns a convicted domestic batterer to lead the sheriff's office, and I am concerned about our city's nationally-recognized domestic violence programs," Lee said. "I will do everything in my power to ensure that abusers continue to be held accountable."

The San Francisco Sheriff's Managers & Supervisors Association issued a statement Tuesday night saying they respect the supervisors' decision and that it is time for the department "to move beyond this difficult period and refocus on our longstanding record of innovative service to the community."

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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