Protesters call for Mirkarimi to step down

Ross Mirkarimi

January 12, 2012 8:17:30 PM PST
The new sheriff in San Francisco is being pressured to resign because of accusations of domestic violence. A coalition of anti-domestic violence leaders held a news conference over accusations that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi abused his wife.

They are turning up the heat on Mirkarimi. One of the members of the San Francisco's Domestic Violence Consortium was on his transition team at City Hall, backing him for Sheriff. Now she's calling for him to resign.

Protesters from the consortium stood on the steps of City Hall and said the newly-elected sheriff should resign or at least step down while he is being investigated for domestic violence.

"He's done nothing to reinsure domestic violence survivors in this city that it is safe for them to now come forward when one of the chief law enforcement officers has this hanging over him," said Manouche Kandel from the Domestic Violence Consortium.

According to court documents, Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, suffered a bruised arm when her husband grabbed her on New Year's Eve. A video taken by a neighbor, Ivory Madison, as well as text messages are in the hands of investigators. Critics are incensed at how Mirkarimi characterized the incident.

Mirkarimi said this was a "private matter, a family matter."

Lopez then jumped in and said it was "taken out of context and this is completely wrong."

"It is not a family matter. It is not a private matter. The neighbor who calls the police is not 'out of line,'" said a protester.

According to Mirkarimi's attorney, Bob Waggener, those comments are being misunderstood.

"His comment was that, 'OK, a domestic violence investigation can take place, it should take place if reported, but that doesn't mean a couple, all of their life has to be aired publicly. It just doesn't have that scope. He's still entitled to some right of privacy," said Waggener.

Another interesting note -- Lopez was at City Hall at the same time as the protesters. Waggener said she was here to visit him. She ran into the group and stood at the back, unidentified, wearing dark glasses, listening as the women talked about her case.