Sheriff foes try to sway board vote

Political pressure is mounting for the Board of Supervisors to permanently remove suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from elected office, following an Ethics Commission determination last week that he committed official misconduct in a domestic violence incident involving his wife.

The City’s Commission on the Status of Women endorsed a statement at its Wednesday night meeting recommending the ouster. Before its 5-2 vote, the commission heard from Mirkarimi supporters, including the embattled sheriff’s wife, Eliana Lopez, who has steadfastly backed her husband since he was arrested in January.

Earlier on Wednesday, a consortium of domestic violence victim advocacy groups released a poll showing that 61 percent of 500 registered voters would like to see Mirkarimi removed, 31 percent would like to see him reinstated and 8 percent were not sure.

Mirkarimi’s ouster would require votes from nine of 11 supervisors, who are likely to hear the matter in October after the Ethics Commission submits its formal written findings. In a 4-1 vote, the Ethics Commission found that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct when he grabbed his wife’s arm hard enough to bruise it during a Dec. 31 fight at the couple’s San Francisco home.

The commission also concluded that misconduct occurred when Mirkarimi later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment in order to avoid three other misdemeanor charges. However, the commission decided that attorneys for The City failed to prove other alleged misconduct, including that Mirkarimi attempted to dissuade witnesses from coming forward about the case or that he used his influence to gain an upper hand in a brewing custody dispute with Lopez.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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