Ross Mirkarimi Explains Exactly How His Wife Got the Bruise

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Ross Mirkarimi
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi went on KQED's Forum this morning to finally give the public what they want: a detailed account of what happened between him and his wife, Eliana Lopez, on the morning of Dec. 31, 2011.

In an emotional interview with Michael Krasny, Mirkarimi, who was suspended last month without pay, calmly recounted how a verbal argument between him and his wife on their way to lunch exploded into a "runaway train" that landed the sheriff-in-limbo with a conviction.

"While silently and privately dealing with it ... I have finally mustered the reserve to tell the story that has not been told," Mirkarimi said.

He set the scene, explaining that the couple and their 2-year-old son, Theo, were on their way to Delfina Pizza in Pacific Heights at around 11:45 a.m. on New Year's Eve when a "horrible quarrel" started about a familiar topic in their family: Lopez's impending trip to her native Venezuela. Mirkarimi explains that his wife had already taken a trip there six months before, and stayed, with their son, for more than two months. He didn't want them to go again.

But what made this argument even more intense was that Lopez also mentioned she'd been talking to a lawyer -- which became his first clue that they were no longer just talking about a trip to South America, but custody issues.

That's when Mirkarimi says he turned their minivan around -- against his wife's wishes -- because he was afraid they would argue about this emotionally charged subject in public.

"I was seriously misrepresented when I saw [in news reports] that I said I was powerful and 'You can't take my son away,'" Mirkarimi says.

It was this act of turning the van around that ultimately led to his conviction of false imprisonment of his wife, Mirkarimi says. They arrived home, and he parked the car.

"I swore at my wife in front of my son, I was angry that she wasn't hearing me, and I regret this terribly, " Mirakimi said. "She was also extremely upset in a way I had never seen her before where it made my son extremely upset -- he was panicked."

Lopez got out of the car, and went to unharness Theo from his car seat. That's when Mirkarimi says he reached over the driver's seat where he was sitting and put his hand underneath her right arm, attempting to "guide her back to passenger seat" to talk things through.

"That's how she got bruised," Mirkarimi said, choking up.

He explained that he thought he was attempting to deescalate an intense argument. But Lopez went into the house while Mirkarimi sat inside the car, trying to "decompress." "There was no sequestering my wife. She came and went as she pleased," Mirkarimi says. "The characterization that she was imprisoned is false."

The next morning, Lopez went to visit their neighbor, attorney Ivory Madison.

Mirkarimi knew nothing of this until the afternoon of Jan. 4, when Madison informed Lopez that she planned to report this alleged domestic violence to police. Mirkarimi says that Lopez ran all the way down Grove Street to City Hall in a panic, and told her husband the whole story right there on the steps of City Hall. "I did not know about any of this. I did not about her level of contact with the neighbor, I didn't know about the video, I did not know about what has become a runaway train,"Mirkarimi said.

Five days after he was sworn in as sheriff, Mirkarimi was arrested on Friday, Jan. 13, and charged with three misdemeanor counts, including battery, endangering a child, and dissuading a witness. A judge barred him from having contact with his wife and son until after the trial.  But last month, in effort to avoid further public dissection, Mirkarimi negotiated a deal, pleading guilty to false imprisonment. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the other three domestic violence charges.

Now, Mirkarimi is having to work out his political career. After the plea deal, Mayor Ed Lee asked Mirkarimi to resign, or face being pushed out; Mirkarimi refused to step down, and Lee has since started the process of removing Mirkarimi from his post.

The Ethics Commission is expected to hear the case in the next week. Meanwhile, Mirkarimi, who has admitted publicly that he can be hot-heated and angry, has sought therapy and anger management, an experience that he characterized as "humbling."

 
 
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18 comments
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Grkike
Grkike

This is why woman do not report abuse, look how the husband is destroyed now with no income. Woman do not report abuse for fear of losing everything.

Postgus
Postgus

Friday, April 20 is Solidarity with Ross Mirkarimi Day. To show your solidarity with the beleaguered sheriff, wear a wife beater on Friday.

Heather Mcneil
Heather Mcneil

Note the passive, "That's how she got bruised."  As if he had nothing to do with it.

Not, "I hurt her," but "she got hurt."  As if it were her own fault.

future lawyer
future lawyer

You're right - I should have started that with "he did put his hands on her." However, some people also bruise easily.

Joe
Joe

What do you expect with a hot-headed Latina? 

Johntrev800
Johntrev800

Ivory Madison is a law school graduate. She is not an attorney.

guest
guest

She is a law school graduate who advertised herself as 1) law school grad 2) editor of the law school’s journal 3) intern at the California State Supreme Court 4) served in a legal advice capacity at a nationally recognized nonprofit dealing with legal issues. She clearly was holding herself out as someone expert in the law. She also provided legal advice to Eliana in encouraging her to document a bruise and told Eliana by her own account that she would research information on the situation on behalf of Eliana. What she did not do was to contact any domestic violence organization, immigrant rights group or other social service agency if she felt Eliana were in danger. According to the public testimony, she called Phil Bronstein to ask him for information on contacting three of Ross’s political friends in order to encourage them to talk to Ross. However, she did not follow through with any of that. 

future lawyer
future lawyer

He should not step down and he should not be forced to resign.

A woman may bruise easily; and he has already faced his punishment by pleading to a criminal charge, he's sat in jail and he's apologized over and over - plus he has gone through anger management.

His job as sheriff should not be in jeopardy for something he has already pled guilty to and he poses no danger/incompetence to the public or to his co-workers.

This is a scenario where we should give him a second chance; he has sought treatment for his problem and there would absolutely be no point for him to do so if the citizens did not give him a second chance as sheriff.

We also need to keep in mind that things can be seriously misconstrued and of course, the media will make this as dramatic as possible. Why was there a plea deal? The prosecutor must have thought there was probably insufficient evidence or weak evidence to convict him of the charges he was up against. 

Stimmy7
Stimmy7

"Sat in Jail"?  The 'time served' referred to was the time he spent IN BOOKING...he was NEVER 'in jail'

"apologized over and over"?  Just because the same few clips have run thousands of times on TV isn't him apologizing over and over, it's one or two short apologies, but he NEVER apologized for the items he was charged for, because he refused to plead guilty to anything other than the reduced charge of 'false imprisonment'... if he accepted that, then he should serve the sentence.

"gone through anger management"? I'm assuming you mean TRAINING, and he was sentenced to do this for a YEAR, not a couple of hour long meetings.  In the past while on the Board of Supervisors he regularly demonstrated his temper and inability to deal with his anger issues... this is nothing new for him.

"poses no danger/incompetence"?  IF HE PLED GUILTY to charges of false imprisonment and he is the CHIEF JAILER for th eCity and County of SF, doesn't that concern you (as a "future lawyer")? How will he be able to effectively discharge his duties.. and he STILL hasn't been granted permission to regain possession of his gun/s.

"he has sought treatment"? but has he attended the SAME treatment that others found guilty of the offense in SF are required to attend, and has he completed the program?  My understanding is someone who enters that program is REQUIRED to admit their offenses and own up to their actions before they are even allowed to participate- that part of it is essentially like a 12 step program.  Mirkarimi is still making excuses for what happened and refusing to accept responsibility.

I think the pea deal was the "second chance" you are referring to- don't forget, Agnos had to host 2 parties to get donations to assist Mirkarimi pay legal costs from the initial trial, and that didn't cover everything.  The "plea" may have been the best he could hope for, so his attorney might have suggested he cut his losses and accept it.  And don't forget, he's on his... what? **5th** attorney now?

future lawyer
future lawyer

Re: the jail time: Mirkarimi received a one day jail sentence. Because he had been in jail, he received credit for time served (after he was booked). That constitutes serving time - even if it was for a day. http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thes...

Poses no danger - I should rephrase. I think that he should be given a chance to do his job because this incident may have been a lesson and poses no danger is too much of an assertion.  But I believe in giving second chances. Perhaps instead of this outright stripping him of his position - we put him in a more limited role as sheriff with more supervision; thereby putting him under more scrutiny. Perhaps better policy changes within the department or effective enforcement duties will take place? 

The plea deal. Let's keep in mind that he was initially charged with 3 misdemeanors - including domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. He pled guilty to one misdemeanor - false imprisonment - as a result of the plea bargain. I think that because this is not a conviction of domestic violence -- he will be able to retain possession of a gun.

Treatment - yes he sought treatment. It was also part of the plea deal. He has to attend 1 year of domestic violence counseling. Obviously he's not done with this program but I believe that constitutes "treatment" -- even if it is part of a plea deal. Also part of the plea bargain - Mirkarimi was sentenced to three years' probation, parenting classes, a hundred hours of community service, and fines and court fees nearing $600.

Further, the issue with Agnos hosting the parties is irrelevant. The legal costs are high. Someone needs to pay them. Answer? A party. 

____
____

future lawyer huh?  Now that's scary.  Your mother must be proud.

Heather Mcneil
Heather Mcneil

No, women do not "bruise easily."  Women are easily bruised by men.  Men easily bruise women.

Harry
Harry

So, if his wife tells him they are going out for pizza and he decides that he is turning the van around and heading back home, then the man of the family has just committed kidnapping and false imprisonment? And our mayor is sticking to his guns on this issue, because it is so absolutely important to get the message across that a man has no rights at all? Let's see, it's they day before New Years and his wife is subtly threatening that she may be leaving with her child, excuse me, their child, and potentially not coming back, but that's a woman's prerogative. May the good Lord forbid that he turn the van around and head back home. That my friends, is against the law!.

Bbradley
Bbradley

really? does anyone buy this crap. He has changed his "story" repeatedly. He has shown to be a repeat offender with prior girlfriends. (see court documents) and his video (lopez) has a different story. This guy has shown to be a liar. Ross, I know your secrets. You know this too. I have said nothing but after this, no more. I think that the true story needs to be out there. Your story the fabrication of ex girlfriends and fabrication of charges has been all in your head.

Sfwtrail
Sfwtrail

strange that he has “changed” his story since this is the first time he has told it.

Cdrgstdy
Cdrgstdy

its the 3rd time. and the story referred to was why he took the plea bargain....

____
____

Who cares murk?  Who cares now?  You are an admitted wife abuser.  Now you can try to spin it any which way.  You plead guilty so man up and take it like man.  And if your marriage, your family, you son is so important, the most important thing, then stand down, resign and stop the self inflicted tragi-comedy you have single handedly created yourself.

coppersmom
coppersmom

and Ivory Madison, still has a zipped lip. Who were the three important people she contacted courtesy of Phil Bronstein ? Why did she wait for four days to call the police? Who contacted reporters in uniform, deliberate fashion  two days prior to the arrest?

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