(Mina Kim/KQED)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided late Tuesday to reinstate suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Mayor Ed Lee suspended the sheriff in March after Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment charges for grabbing and bruising his wife’s arm during an argument. We discuss what the decision means for the city.

Show Highlights

On the Supervisors' Vote to Reinstate

"Exuberant, yes. My family hasn't slept any. But I'm eternally grateful for all our incredible support and to the people of San Francisco for having to endure this agonizing process."

— Ross Mirkarimi

On the Progressive Vote

"In this vote, we had two very progressive women, Jane Kim and Christina Olague, [who voted] to keep the sheriff in the office that he wants. And we had two very progressive [male] supervisors. So that's four of probably the most progressive supervisors that we've ever seen in this city, saying: 'We understand that this is a very, very serious issue, domestic violence, and we will continue to work as hard as we know how to advance that cause. But this particular charge brought by the mayor as identified the chairman of the ethics commission, does not meet the test for official misconduct.'"

— Art Agnos

On Ross Mirkarimi's Response

"I've seen men plead guilty to domestic violence, and let me tell you, you can see it in their bodies. The minute that you acknowledge the harm that you have caused, that's the minute you can start healing. And what we keep hearing: he's the victim, he's had to endure something. You know what I want to say today? There's a lot at stake here, Sheriff Mirkarimi, and it's bigger than you."

— Suzy Loftus

On Whether the Charges Were Politically Motivated

"I don't think it was political from the get go, but I think it was a mistake by a politically immature Mayor, to charge him before he talked to the man himself, before he talked to the victim himself, and, made a judgment based on political advice that didn't work."

— Art Agnos

"The narrative that Eliana has not fallen into is what's bothered them, which is why I think they've intensified their attacks. Such as a Michael Vick analogy, or such as even suggesting to us last night that the next thing I could do is seriously hurt or kill my family. I mean, my god, to say those kind of things in order to enhance your position… while that might be politics and that might be legal maneuvering in a court contest, it does not mean that you have to scare people into falsehoods."

— Ross Mirkarimi

On Eliana Lopez's Version of the Story

"Since day one of this whole ordeal there's been an incredible amount of mischaracterization and mistportrayal about who I am and what I've done. And yet to this day, nobody from the domestic violence agencies, nobody from the police department, district attorney, has ever reached out… [to] the very person they claimed to defend, the very person that they have tried to use.

And yet she has written a number of pieces just outraged at that level of dismissal. So If in fact this is a representation of victims rights, they should talk to the person that they claim to represent and hear what the full story is. And that has never been well told."

— Ross Mirkarimi

"There was a 55 second video of Eliana Lopez detailing… and showing the bruise on her arm, and talking about how it had happened before. And subsequent to that, she has given a different version of the facts, but that, that's recanting and that's what we see in domestic violence cases."

— Suzy Loftus

On What Comes Next

"As the events were concluding last night, I reached out to the caretaker sheriff, spoke with [her] almost around midnight. We have planned a transition debriefing starting later today and over the next several days. I've reached out to members of the command staff and the president of the rank and file union already to let them know I look forward to a debriefing and catching up with them."

— Ross Mirkarimi

"We believe San Francisco has sent a message, that committing domestic violence is not official misconduct, and there is an open question about what that is going to mean for the city of San Francisco, the city of Saint Francis, and whether we can keep doing what we've been doing, which is be a refuge for the most vulnerable people in our society."

— Suzy Loftus

 

Guests:
Jason McDaniel, assistant professor of political science at San Francisco State University
Art Agnos, Former Mayor of San Francisco
Suzy Loftus, Member of the San Francisco Police commission, former prosecutor
Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Sheriff

  • Punly

    Madly or sadly, Ed Lee governed bad-lee.

  • Gerald Fnord

    Well, I guess what he did were o.k., then.

    • Dean

      yea it were

  • chrisco

    Well I can say hallelujah. I felt like this was overkill and unjust from the start, and I never heard of Mirkarimi before.

    Oh, let us all cry about the speck in Mirkarimi’s eye while the log in Ed Lee’s goes unexamined. Ed Lee, in essence, stole the election by scheming his way to an appointment. Now that is misconduct in office.

    • Guest

      Mayor Lee was elected by the people of San Francisco. It was in all the papers.

      http://www.californiabeat.org/2011/11/09/breaking-ed-lee-elected-mayor-of-san-francisco-george-gascon-wins-d-a-race

      • chrisco

        Yeah, I think I am a little ahead of you.

        Ed Lee was appointed interim Mayor when Gavin Newsome became whatever statewide official he became. Ed Lee was appointed because he promised not to run for election. Many others who were running for mayor wanted to be appointed mayor too. Ed Lee promptly renounced his promise thus cruising to election. That is underhanded. That is official misconduct to me.

        Had any of the other leading contender for mayor been appointed interim Mayor, they most likely would have won the election. It is a massive springboard to win the election. Ed Lee was ONLY appointed because he promised not to run, then once in, he promptly changed his mind.

        • Guest

          Yes! I’m totally in favor of locking up every politician who ever changed their mind.

          • Jim

            That’s weird. I didn’t see Chrisco say anything about locking anyone up. Strawman much?

            Chrisco is correct that Lee obtained office based on a false promise. Cute snark from ill-informed commenters does nothing to change that.

          • Guest

            Oh, Jim. You’re right, of course. Please forgive me. I am so ignorant. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways. I don’t know what I was thinking…or why. I will never, ever do it again.

  • mike

    While i deplore domestic violence, i feel that there is a huge anti-man domestic violence cartel in SF.
    My wife falsely accused me of domestic violence in an attempt to gain custody of my daughter. I was appalled at how easy it was for my ex to get a restraining order (which costs $1000’s to fight) with absolutely no need for evidence of any kind.
    There are countless legal aid groups for accusers and no recourse for victims of false claims.

    • survivor

      I’m sorry to hear it. But you are the exception; with the presumed 50/50 custody that California courts espouse, many batterers get joint custody of their children, and sometimes even full custody. A typical strategy of batterers is to accuse their victims of being mentally ill, and if they spend enough money on attorneys, they sometimes succeed.

  • Mare Bear

    Ross is good for San Francisco – it’s great we have such a caring, passionate, intelligent, well educated individual working for the City!

    • survivor

      What Ross are you talking about? Certainly not the subject of this forum.

  • guest

    Why has Forum allocated an hour to this?

    • Rhet

      This tiny issue has been elevated to the level of war crimes because so many other actual huge crimes are off the table. Criminal bankers are protected by the USA’s political class. Bush & Cheney & Obama’s war crimes will never be prosecuted. Monsanto’s pollution of the biosphere with cancer-causing GMO foods is politically protected. Fracking pollution of water supplies is protected by yet more omerta. KBR’s sanctioning of rape of American women in Iraq is politically protected. Israel’s subjugation of Native Palestinians and isolating them into reservations is protected by the US media.

      • Guest

        Yes, the world is filled with injustice. Therefore, we should not bother with local problems? I think not.

        • Joe

          You’ve clearly lost the plot. Your priorities are upside down. I suspect you have committed violence yourself against men.

          • Guest

            I have not.

          • Joe

            I consider the Mirkarimi situation to have been solved as far as his role is concerned. It was solved in a very public way, which is instructive for the public, and clearly there was a problem needing a solution i.e. the marriage was foundering and his attitude was poor. But it’s over.
            Now, on to Phase II: Recalling or voting out Ed Lee, whose actions against Mirkarimi were basically predatory.

          • survivor

            Get some therapy!

          • survivor

            Christine, it isn’t worth the time or energy to respond to these kinds of people. They will hang themselves with their own anger and bigotry.

          • survivor

            These kinds of people shouldn’t be allowed to post. Get some therapy!

          • Jim

            “Should not be allowed to post”, eh? Gotcha. From here on in, only Survivor-approved posting will be allowed. Please submit your posts, as well as identifying what “kind of people” you are, to the censor before posting.

    • Guest

      Because domestic violence is serious problem in our fair country.

  • chrisco

    I think of Steven Pinker and yesterday’s show. The wife has a bruise on his arm and the man is almost hounded from office. Can you imagine how past societies wold look on this act of violence? Can you imagine how they would be quite totally perplexed on our modern approach to violence? And then can you imagine how sanctioned routine violence was in their societies and thus how much worse it must have been?

    • survivor

      Exactly: in the past, men were allowed to batter their wives, in fact, it was encouraged. In some other cultures, women are jailed or murdered for minor crimes. This is not something we should aspire to!

  • fedup

    your current “guest’ refers to all perpetrators of DV as “men’ … in my experience, females are equally responsible for at least 50% of violence, , most men don’t report it .

    • Guest

      Really? Do you have some documentation of this rampant reign of female terror? I beg to differ:

      http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/

      Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

      Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

      Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

      Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

      Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.

      Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

      Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.

      Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

      Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.

      The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

      Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

    • museking

      I agree that DV perpetrators should not be classified broadly as male. There are perpetrators of both genders and you probably already know (it sounds like you’re somewhat informed) that most women don’t report it either. Even those of higher socio-economic or educational status.

      • survivor

        Especially those with higher socio-economic and educational status. Women feel ashamed for allowing the men they chose to date/cohabitate with/marry/produce children with batter them, and the men who batter them know this and use it to silence them so they can continue to batter and control them.

    • survivor

      What is your experience? It certainly didn’t happen on this planet. Most perpetrators are men, and most women don’t report it, as the men utilize power and control techniques to keep the women afraid of leaving, afraid of reporting, afraid of saying or doing anything at all.

  • RA

    I generally don’t like Mirkarimi and voted for someone else in the election.

    However, the charges against him, like prob 90% of domestic “violence” charges were overblown and should not have been brought.

    Finally, the fact that progressives gave him his job back i think is proof that the “progressive – victimization complex” is just political theater. When one of their own got caught up in the net… they let him off.

    REAL domestic violence is a serious problem. “Domestic violence” as construed in in SF and in California more broadly is just government sponsored lynching of men.

    (no, i haven’t been “accused” of anything by anyone. But seriously if you think i’m wrong read a little about how domestic violence charges are adjudicated and how they’re used in family court and the impact it has on people accused. The burden of proof is so low it makes the Salem Witch Trials look progressive by comparison. )

    • survivor

      Ahh, so what Mirkarimi did was not “real” domestic violence… is that like saying, women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate” rape? Domestic violence is always real and always damaging to not only the victim but also the perpetrator and the witnesses, who are overwhelmingly very young children. My babies witnessed my ex-husband spit in my face, push me to the ground, grab my arm hard enough to make a bruise, attempt to suffocate me with a pillow, and attempt to strangle me with his bare hands (I was breast-feeding at the time). It is the most heinous crime on our planet because it is invisible, perpetrated in the privacy of our homes.

  • To: @KQEDnews, @kqedforum
    Re: #sfsheriff:

    They who break the law are not fit to enforce it!

  • chrisco

    I don’t see Mirkarimi as minimizing his conduct. But I see his opponents as greatly exaggerating it.

    • survivor

      There is no such thing as exaggerating domestic violence. As a survivor (note: for the first few years post-separation, I was a victim, now I have finally crossed the line into survivorhood) I can tell you that what starts as name-calling turns into hair-pulling, spitting in the face, shoving, kicking, restraining, and finally assaulting with a weapon. And I’m not talking about what transpires in trailer parks: I am a homeowner and a professional, a DAR, true blue blood, legacy Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. from Cal.

  • Stella

    I watched the hearings last night and was appalled and disgusted at the domestic violence advocates getting “booed” by Mirkarimi supporters. It highlights the hypocracy in this city. We have people who protested a police officer shooting in the Mission of a man who was armed and pointed a gun at the officer, and then people boo domestic violence advocates.

    Mirkarimi pled guilty based on facts to a crime that, even during the campaign and sheriff elect, he is assumed to deter. Won’t it be awkward when the Sheriff attends counseling sessions and probation with the other domestic violence guilty people?

    Mirkarimi’s wife made a video crying showing her arm bruised and said he did it again, then she lied and said it wasn’t true and threw her neighbor/friend under the bus during the ethics hearing for making the video?

    What about a recall initiative?

    • Bup

      I agree, Ed Lee needs to be recalled.

  • museking

    As a female U.S. and California citizen (now living in the East Bay) I am HORRIFIED that a person admitting to, and convicted of, a violent crime would be considered the BEST POSSIBLE candidate for Sheriff of SF. There are people who have convicted lesser, non-violent crimes who are NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE, much less hold such a high, prestigious public office. This should be a national scandal! This is particularly insulting to voters in this era of severe budget cuts that a person of this caliber should be receiving a substantial paycheck from any government office. I’m ashamed and appalled. Overturn Citizens’ United, there is clearly some political favors and pay-backs being displayed here, no question. It doesn’t require Sherlock Holmes to solve this one (sadly)…

    • Joe

      You’re an ignorant fool who is trying to blow a minor local squabble out of proportion.

      • museking

        Joe, you’re clearly a person (gender doesn’t really matter here, but you’re likely a male) who has no knowledge of DV issues and how illogically they play out– and they are very often repeated. This is no minor crime… read up on it and educate yourself before accusing others of ignorance.

        • survivor

          That’s right, museking. Domestic violence is not a “local squabble,” nor is it a minor crime. A man (or woman) of integrity, courage, and compassion would not only publicly confess to and apologize for the crime, but also follow up by resigning public office and enrolling in a 52-week batterer’s class.

  • Lets Recall Ross. This is over the top. He’s convicted of domestic violence.

  • Mayor Agnos….this was not a mistake per se; it is a pattern of behavior.

  • Ken

    I do not appreciate the characterization of men being the offender in all cases. Nationally, at least 40% of the reported domestic violence incidents were perpetrated by women.
    I was a victim of a domestic violence incidence during my divorce last year, in which my ex attacked me and destroyed property. Issuance of an emergency protective order automatically led to her arrest, but charges were subsequently dropped. Then, she played victim in the custody case, and I was estranged from my children for nearly a year because of false allegations that were made.
    Domestic violence needs to be taken very seriously. It makes me shudder that Sheriff Mirkarimi was reinstated, but it frightens me that my ex is currently training to be a counseling professional.

    • Guest

      http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/

      Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

      Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
      Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

      Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

  • Soak

    This is disgusting and unethical to have a Sheriff who is the Head Law Enforcement Officer with a gold star badge, a gun, and all the authority under the state of California to enforce laws including domestic violence and other crimes, but at the same time he has broken the laws himself? I mean this don’t make any sense to me. Come on somebody, is this a community that we live? So, that means I can go and beat up somebody and then come back and apply for a deputy sheriff position? Or better yet, use my law enforcement authority to physically attack them for no reason just because I have the power to do so and get away with it? Corruption at it’s best!

    • survivor

      Corruption, perhaps; misogyny, absolutely. We are a society that pretends to be “equal,” “liberated” but we turn away when men batter the women or children with whom they live. I’ve heard Oakland Police Department officers say, in my presence, “it’s a domestic, low priority.” “It’s a domestic, none of our business.” And the so-called liberal media has no interest in covering the topic; I have hundreds of emails in my inbox from reporters and editors saying, “sorry, dv not a current issue.” “Sorry, no time.” “Sorry, not my beat.”

  • Monica

    If Mirkarimi really wants to serve the best interests of the county, he should resign and let us all move on. The damage is done and he can no longer effectively run the department.

  • James Ivey

    First, as has been said many times, Ross was acquitted of domestic violence and only convicted for trying to keep his wife in the car to calm her down.

    I was in an abusive relationship once. My girlfriend would beat on me. She would end up hurting herself when beating me and going to the hospital. Due to mandated reporting, I had a record as a batterer when in reality I was being battered.

    From that experience, I had a lot of contact with police and hospitals. I learned that my situation is far from unique. Domestic violence goes both ways. Don’t just assume that Ross’s wife is entirely innocent just because she’s a woman.

    • survivor

      It is typical of batterers to claim they were simply “restraining” an “out-of-control” partner. It’s always about the other person’s behavior, not their reaction to it.

      • Jim

        Wow, “survivor” is doing overtime duty as judge, jury and executioner in this thread, and has now convicted James, concluding James is a liar because… well, it’s “typical”.

  • Mjhmjh

    Whatever one’s views on domestic violence, the nature of the conviction is irrelevant here. The point is that a conviction renders Mirkarimi unfit for his office. In my opinion, ANY police post should require a totally unblemished legal record.

    • Rhet

      SF voters should elect the leaders of Occupy to run the police.

    • as was said earlier:
      They who break the law are not fit to enforce it!

    • survivor

      No one accused of domestic violence should be in public office, period. Or teaching school, or running a daycare, the list goes on.

      • Jim

        No one “accused”? Really? Wow, glad to see you believe in due process of law. Just accuse and be done with it.

  • Andrew M.

    I don’t have a vested interest in this as I live in the North Bay, but I have to say that, after having listened to Mirikarimi’s accounts on this very show a number of times, it’s clear he’s all about himself. He’s willing to drag everyone down in the city, and it’s simply irresponsible for a sheriff to be on probation, in fact it’s ridiculous. I can’t believe this controversy has dragged on and on. And what I’ve heard from Mirikarimi is him admitting he’s in a panic about losing his job, not what’s best for the sheriff’s office or the city. I don’t know whether he committed the act or not, or how severe or minimal it is, but for the good of the city he should have resigned. If he’s so worried about having a job, I’m sure he could’ve cut a deal to be employed elsewhere, or like the rest of us unpriviliged folks, could look on Craig’s List. I’m sure he would have received unemployment compensation. I’m done with him, and I bet most San Franciscans are too. What’s sad is that this thing divides people unnecessarily, and that fault lies with him. He is brazenly self centered.

    • survivor

      Domestic violence isn’t a San Francisco issue, or a women’s issue. It is a human rights issue. Every human being has a “vested interest” in making sure that our societies don’t tolerate people who batter their spouses, children, or other family members.

  • Adrian

    Wow. I thought I liked Art Agnos for tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway and other things back in the day. Here I could not stand anything he mouthed — he sounded like the consummate mealy-mouthed, evasive politico.

    Bottom line for me is: no excuses. He was fairly charged and fairly committed of violence. Everything else is detail, whether there’s anything truthful about it or not. He should not be the top law enforcement officer with that conviction.

    • survivor

      He should not be in public office, period. There’s a reason people applying for government jobs get fingerprinted: people who have been arrested for violent crimes shouldn’t be in positions of power or anywhere near a government payroll.

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