Mirkarimi sworn in amid domestic violence inquiry

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi quietly took the oath of office in a private ceremony Jan. 8, 2012.

January 8, 2012 7:59:46 PM PST
Just days after an investigation was launched against him, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi quietly took the oath of office in a private ceremony Saturday night. During a public ceremony Sunday, he addressed allegations of domestic violence against his wife.

Mirkarimi soaked in the pomp and circumstance of his swearing in ceremony, but the new sheriff himself acknowledged the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the event as a domestic violence investigation continues.

"We treat all cases the same, regardless, we take domestic violence in San Francisco very, very seriously, and we put the investigation, as complete as we could make it, and now it's presented to the district attorney for an action," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

The investigation was launched last week. According to court documents, Mirkarimi's neighbor Ivory Madison called San Francisco police to report a New Years Eve incident between the new sheriff and his wife. According to the documents, Mirkarimi's wife said he grabbed her arm during an argument and bruised it. Madison told police she shot video of the bruise and took pictures.

"I think if we deal with this like we would with any other case that is similarly situated, politics will step to the side," District Attorney George Gascon said. "Obviously we have a law enforcement official and that adds another level of complexity, but we want to be sure that we do the right thing."

ABC7 News legal analyst Dean Johnson says the district attorney's office has some latitude about possible charges in this case.

"It's pretty clearly not the most violent type of domestic violence case, and it's also pretty clearly in that range from felony to misdemeanor, this one pretty clearly falls within the misdemeanor range," Johnson said.

Following his inauguration, Mirkarimi and his wife responded to the ongoing investigation.

"A private matter, a family matter, and that this is completely out, taken completely out of context, and this is completely wrong," the Mirkarimis said.

Former Mayor Art Agnos presided over the swearing in ceremony after Superior Court Judge Katherine Feinstein backed out, saying she didn't want to create a potential future legal conflict.