San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has pleaded guilty to a charge of “restraint on liberty.” I personally would regard Mirkarimi’s previous advocacy of strict gun controls as attempted restraint on liberty, but in this case, he was restraining his wife, Venezuelan television actress Eliana Lopez, with enough force to leave a bruise.
Lopez didn’t want to press charges, but an alert neighbor with a video camera gave authorities evidence that couldn’t be ignored.
Those of us who are too simple-minded for politics will remember the many occasions when those who have been accused or convicted of domestic violence were relieved of their guns, but it appears Mirkarimi will be keeping his.
Prosecutors agreed to three years on probation, domestic-violence counseling and 100 hours of community service. He will also pay a $400 fine plus minor court costs.
If you thought shame might come into the picture and the sheriff might just resign, you’d be wrong. “There is nothing constitutional or legally that inhibits my ability to be sheriff,” Mirkarimi said.
While San Francisco mayor Ed Lee could remove him, Mirkarimi’s previous service on the San Francisco Board of Supervisor and his political stature as a founder of the California Green Party made that problematic.
As one seasoned local observer told the Reuters news service, “You don’t make many friends by forcing them to have a tough vote on Ross Mirkarimi. There’s a realpolitik issue, which is that you don’t want to force the board of supervisors to vote on this because you have to get them to approve your budget and a lot of things over the course of the next six months.”