Board vote on sheriff’s ouster still up in air

S.F. Examiner File PhotoRoss Mirkarimi is asking for the final vote determining his political fate to be held after the Nov. 6 election.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoRoss Mirkarimi is asking for the final vote determining his political fate to be held after the Nov. 6 election.

It remains unclear whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will have his political future decided by the Board of Supervisors before or after the Nov. 6 election.

The elected sheriff-in-limbo, who has been facing The City’s meticulous removal process since March, asked that a final judgment be delayed until after the election, in which five supervisorial seats are up for grabs.

The decision on the timing appears to rest with Ethics Commission Chairman Ben Hur, who said at a meeting Tuesday that he’ll decide later — possibly at a future public meeting — when to send the official misconduct findings to the board.

Last month, the commission found that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct during a Dec. 31 domestic violence dispute involving 
his wife, Eliana Lopez. The marital conflict eventually resulted in a misdemeanor false imprisonment conviction for the recently elected sheriff.

Once the commission submits its findings to supervisors, a 30-day clock begins ticking for them to act. Nine of 11 members of the board must agree with the official misconduct charges — which were originally levied by Mayor Ed Lee — to permanently remove Mirkarimi from office. Ethics Commission Executive Director John St. Croix said last week that the commission had planned to submit the final findings Sept. 18.

Mirkarimi’s attorneys argued in a written brief to the Ethics Commission that a pre-election decision is far too politically sensitive and “tantamount to telling a judge or jury that how they determine the outcome of a case will decide whether or not they get to keep their jobs.”

The argument was accompanied by supporting documents showing speculative news articles and campaign materials from supervisorial candidates saying that if they were in charge, Mirkarimi would not get their votes.

Two candidates vying to represent The City’s southwest District 7, Norman Yee and F.X. Crowley, both sent out email blasts assuring voters they would vote for the sheriff’s ouster.

“As a husband, a father, and a community leader, I cannot condone allowing Mr. Mirkarimi to continue as our top law enforcement official,” Yee wrote.

Mirkarimi’s argument also included a recent poll of 500 likely San Francisco voters showing that 51 percent would be “less likely” to vote for a candidate who supported the sheriff’s 
reinstatement.

Along with a brief discussion of the vote’s timing, Tuesday’s Ethics Commission hearing included an addition to the written findings of official misconduct that questioned the credibility of Lopez’s testimony in July. The language said a tearful 53-second video made by Lopez a day after the couple’s spat was more credible than her hours-long testimony supporting her husband and decrying the removal process as a corrupt coup.

Paula Canny, Lopez’s attorney, snapped at commissioners over the addition.

“My client wants you to know that you’re 
flat-out wrong,” Canny said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsEthics CommissionLocalRoss Mirkarimi

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A cyclist heads past an artistic sign onto Page Street, a Slow Street, at Stanyan Street near Golden Gate Park on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Push to make street closures permanent meets with resistance

Hastily thrown together during the pandemic, Slow Streets program now struggles to build support

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Most Read