More than ten months after a domestic violence incident that derailed his career, Ross Mirkarimi’s suspension as Sheriff is over.
Last night, the SF Board of Supervisors voted to reinstate Mirkarimi. The vote was actually 7 to 4 against Mirkarimi, but his removal would have required 9 votes from the Board.
In case you’re not familiar with this saga, Mirkarimi was the former Supervisor of District 5, which includes most of the Lower Haight. In November of 2011, he was elected Sheriff of San Francisco. However, on New Years Eve (before his inauguration), Mirkarimi had a physical altercation with his wife which left her arm bruised. Mirkarimi was inaugurated as Sheriff, but was charged a week later with three counts, including domestic battery. He eventually pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, and was suspended in March by Mayor Ed Lee. The ensuing legal tussle stretched for nearly 7 months.
In a marathon session yesterday, which lasted from 2pm until about 10pm, the Board of Supervisors heard from both Mirkarimi’s lawyers and the Mayor’s reps, as well as the president of the Ethics Commission and a boatload of enthusiastic public commenters (including our very own Pierre Pegeron from Lo Cost Meats!).
Finally came the vote.
Interestingly, Mirkarimi’s interim replacement as D5 Supervisor (and candidate for the full-time gig this November) Christina Olague was one of the 4 pro-Mirkarimi votes. In a statement released last night after the vote, Olague said:
[I]n my opinion, the removal of any elected official from office requires that the Mayor supply evidence that demonstrates, with great certainty, that the charter prescribed definition of official misconduct was violated.
Sheriff Mirkarimi made an egregious mistake, one that has had serious personal, professional, legal, and social consequences. His actions were undeniably wrong, and as a result he has sought treatment and taken the court mandated steps toward resolution.
Based on the instructions provided to me by the voters of San Francisco through the charter, I cannot find that his actions were executed through his authority as a sheriff, and I will not be supporting a motion to sustain the charges.”
That seemed to be the crux of the issue — everyone seemed to agree that Mirkarimi’s actions counted as misconduct, but were they official misconduct? Apparently, the answer is officially no.
So there you have it: the legal process has run its course, and Ross Mirkarimi will be back in the Sheriff’s saddle again ASAP.
What say ye, readers?