Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Gets His Job Back
After several hours of public testimony, the board voted 4-7 to give Mirkarimi his job back, claiming the bruise he gave his wife did not amount to official misconduct. Supervisors Christina Olague, David Campos, John Avalos, and Jane Kim voted to bring him back as sheriff.
Mirkarimi, who had been suspended without pay since he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in April, only needed three of the 11 supervisors to side with him in order for him to get his job back.
Naturally, the sheriff was stoked to see this nine-month family and political drama come to an end -- in his favor. "I look forward to getting back to work and demonstrating why I was elected," he said after the hearing last night.
See also: S.F. Inmates Say That Bruise Ross Mirkarimi Gave His Wife Is No Misdemeanor
The decision was a real blow to Mayor Ed Lee, who had been campaigning to oust Mirkarimi on the basis of official misconduct. The mayor has claimed all along that Mirkarimi had no business being an elected official after he gave his wife, Eliana Lopez, that bruise during a domestic dispute on New Year's Eve.
Mayor Lee was obviously confident the board would side with him; he attended the opening of a new Target store in downtown San Francisco instead of showing up to Mirkarimi's political trial last night.
Afterward, Lee issued a statement expressing his disappointment: "The Board's decision returns a convicted domestic batterer to lead the Sheriff's Office," he said.
In their closing remarks, all the supervisors -- even those who voted for Mirkarimi's reinstatement -- made damn sure to condemn domestic violence. However, the four supervisors who supported Mirkarimi said that their decision was based on a narrow interpretation of the law.
In question was San Francisco's City Charter, which allows for any public official to be removed from office if their "conduct falls below the standard of decency, good faith, and right action implicitly required of all public officers."
Kim fretted that neither Lee nor the Ethics Commission -- which recommended that the sheriff be removed from office -- had proven that Mirkarimi used his powers as sheriff to abuse his wife. Another issue that troubled the supervisors was the timing; did the sheriff's role as a public official began with his election (which occurred before the Dec. 31, 2011, domestic violence incident) or with his swearing in ceremony (which occurred several days after the incident).
Supervisor David Chiu, who opposed Mirkarimi's reinstatement, emphasized the severity of the case. He referenced remarks made by domestic violence survivors who said their cases were not taken seriously. "The answer is to take every allegation as seriously as this one," Chiu said.
Mirkarimi says he will report to duty today.