Mirkarimi hearing rallies supporters, detractors


On one side were the anti-domestic violence groups who say a man who bruised his wife in an argument has no business being sheriff.

"Ross Mirkarimi is a perpetrator of domestic violence," domestic violence survivors' advocate Sydney Hodgkinson said. "He should not be a representative of the city and his ethics are very in question."

On the other side of the street were the suspended sheriff's supporters, who say his case has been blown out of proportion.

"I mean he grabbed her arm. She got a black and blue mark. Maybe she bruises easily," Mirkarimi supporter Mindy Kener said.

When things started getting loud, victims' rights advocates packed up and went inside, leaving Mirkarimi's supporters to greet his wife, Eliana Lopez, when she emerged from the ethics hearing.

Lopez said the allegations that Mirkiarmi abused her amounted to a political witch hunt. "This is using a bruise to destroy a political opponent. That is wrong. You can judge for yourself if I look like a victim," she said.

Critics say she does. "A crime was committed. He pled guilty. He was convicted. He's on three years' probation. He's not fit to serve," Beverly Upton, director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, said.

But supporters want him back as sheriff. "What was really something that the family could work on was blown up into a whole circus that you're seeing here," supporter Debra Walker said.

But with all the different voices weighing in on this debate, the ones that matter the most are the ones we haven't heard from yet. The Board of Supervisors will ultimately vote on whether Mirkarimi stays or goes. It would take nine members of the 11-member board to remove him, and so far, on the advice of the city attorney, none of them have said publicly where they stand.

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