Mayor, DA want law keeping Sheriff Mirkarimi out of domestic violence matters

S.F. Examiner File PhotoMayor Ed Lee and District Attorney George Gascón proposed legislation that has not yet been drafted to force Sheriff Mirkarimi to recuse himself from issues dealing with domestic violence.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoMayor Ed Lee and District Attorney George Gascón proposed legislation that has not yet been drafted to force Sheriff Mirkarimi to recuse himself from issues dealing with domestic violence.

A March domestic violence conviction remains a heavy weight on reinstated Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who responded defiantly when District Attorney George Gascón recently called on him to abandon oversight of rehabilitation programs for batterers until completing his probation.

On Monday, Gascón and Mayor Ed Lee proposed using legislation to force Mirkarimi to recuse himself from overseeing such programs. The two officials again contended that Mirkarimi’s conviction “sends the wrong message” to domestic violence victims about coming forward in San Francisco.

Although the proposed law is not yet drafted, Gascón said it would aim to revoke city officials’ powers over certain aspects of their work if they have been convicted of a crime related to those duties. Gascón said the law would apply to convicted city officials during their criminal sentences, including probation periods. In the official’s stead, a “high-ranking” colleague would fulfill the duties, but report to someone other than the convicted official.

Flanked by domestic violence recovery advocates during a news conference to announce a $650,000 Department of Justice grant, Gascón and Lee said the “personal shortcomings” revealed by the Mirkarimi affair represent a “setback” to years of progress on the issue.

“We’ve got women every day who are suffering in silence,” Gascón said. “We’re making it more difficult by playing games.”

Mirkarimi, who has more than two years left in his probation and undergoes weekly batterer rehabilitation classes, was convicted in March of misdemeanor false imprisonment after a Dec. 31 fight with his wife, whose arm he grabbed hard enough to leave a bruise.

Lee subsequently sought to remove the elected sheriff from office by suspending him without pay, but after months of exhaustive City Hall hearings, only seven Board of Supervisors members agreed with the ouster. Under the City Charter, nine supervisors were needed to permanently terminate the sheriff.

After reviewing the recusal matter with attorneys, Mirkarimi wrote Gascón a letter saying that if conflicts arise, “steps will be taken to ensure that program integrity remains uncompromised.” On Monday, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey said the sheriff currently sees “no conflict of interest.”

“The criteria and guidelines of the programs were developed through a collaboration of staff, community experts and program advocates over the last two decades,” Fahey said. “As a public servant, the sheriff has been a longtime and outspoken ally of domestic violence and antiviolence programs.”

Gascón refuted the protocol laid out in Mirkarimi’s letter, and said there would clearly be a “lack of faith in the system,” and that “this flies in the face of common sense.” The mayor echoed those statements.

“This is a crisis of confidence that we have to have with survivors,” Lee said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsBoard of SupervisorsDomestic ViolenceGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

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

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Psilocybin magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
‘Magic mushrooms’ moving into the mainstream

Efforts to decriminalize psychedelics could follow several different paths

The 2020 Census has concluded taking responses sooner than expected. (Courtesy photo)
What does California have to lose if undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census?

By Kim Bojórquez The Sacramento Bee If The U.S. Supreme Court rules… Continue reading

Most Read