SF Sheriff demotes former opponent, some call it politically motivated

Paul Miyamato, The City’s assistant sheriff who until recently was in command of The City jails, has been demoted to captain.

</p> “Paul was my opponent in the 2011 sheriff's race. When I came into the office I promoted him to the at-will position of assistant sheriff that oversaw the jails and our field division. Based on short and long term reforms I returned him to his civil service class of captain at County Jail #4, effective April 18,” said Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in a statement.

The City’s jails have been the focus of media attention following revelations in March that a handful of deputies were allegedly forcing inmates to fight one another. Additionally, a federal prisoner escape has added to the department’s woes.

The incidents at the jail have sparked multiple investigations that include the FBI, and have come center stage as Mirkarimi faces reelection in the fall.

Miyamoto ran against Mirkarimi in 2011 and currently backs his opponent Vick Hennessy, who was interim sheriff for a short time during a scandal that almost lost Mirkarimi his job. In 2012 Mirkarimi pleaded no contest to misdemeanor false imprisonment in relation to an altercation with his wife. Mirkarimi’s record has since been expunged.

Miyamoto would not return calls for comment on the story, but Hennessy’s campaign did verify that he has backed her candidacy.

But Eugene Cerbone, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said the demotion was politically motivated.

“Miyamoto is supporting Vicki Hennessy, and Mirkarimi now knows it,” he told the San Francisco Examiner in an email.

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