Mirkarimi's wife denies report of domestic violence

January 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
He will be sworn in as San Francisco Sheriff on Sunday, but on Friday the newly-elected lawman is in the news for a very different reason. Police are investigating former city supervisor, now sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi over an allegation of domestic violence.

The San Francisco Police Department confirms that they have conducted and completed an investigation into the allegations against Mirkarimi. The case is now in the hands of the district attorney who now has to decide if charges should be filed.

A photo taken on New Year's Eve of Sheriff-Elect Ross Mirkarimi and his wife Elaina Lopez shows what appears to be a loving couple, but a police investigation into Mirkarimi suggests otherwise.

"We will evaluate the case. Again, we will do so as we would with any other case involving domestic violence," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

The domestic violence accusation comes from one of the Mirkarimi's neighbors who we tried to talk to Friday night. She didn't answer her door. Mirkarimi didn't answer his door either.

According to an affidavit, a neighbor called police saying she spoke to Mirkarimi's wife who asked her to video tape a bruise on her arm after her husband grabbed her on New Year's Eve. It also indicates the neighbor said she had a text message conversation with the victim about "...the incident, her injuries, how the injuries were caused, and who caused the injuries."

But a spokesman for Mirkarimi's wife quotes her as saying, "What is happening here is wrong. I have absolutely no complaint against my husband. My husband has never been abusive to me. Ross and I are committed to our marriage, our son and our family."

"Probably the most frequent problem in domestic violence prosecutions is that the victim doesn't want to testify," said ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson.

Johnson says such cases can be won without the victim's testimony.

"Frankly, I have seen cases filed and I've seen cases tried to jury verdicts, successfully on weaker evidence," said Johnson.

The affidavit does show police seized the neighbor's video camera and iPhone, which could be possible evidence if the district attorney decides to go to trial. And if Mirkarimi is charged, he has a lot to lose.

"There are a number of provisions that prevent people who have been convicted of felonies from holding public office. It's usually one of the normal incidents of the sentence in a felony," said Johnson.

Johnson also says one of the most problematic things that a defense attorney will face sometimes is if a peace officer is convicted, even of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, he can no longer carry a firearm. And in Johnson's words, a peace officer who can't carry a firearm is pretty useless.