SF sheriff charged with official misconduct

PAUL ELIAS Associated Press Published:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The mayor on Wednesday charged Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi with official misconduct stemming from his guilty plea in a domestic violence case.

Mayor Ed Lee filed the charge a day after he announced that he would place Mirkarimi on suspension, saying the sheriff's actions fell "below the standards of decency and good faith."

Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge for a New Year's Eve dispute in which his wife's arm was bruised. Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss three other misdemeanor charges, including domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness.

Immediately after Monday's sentencing, in which the sheriff was ordered to serve probation and undergo counseling, Lee met with Mirkarimi and asked him to resign or face the misconduct probe.

A defiant Mirkarimi refused to step down, saying his actions did not constitute official misconduct.

"I wanted to and have taken full responsibility," Mirkarimi told reporters Tuesday. "At this time, I do not plan to resign."

Now that the misconduct charge is filed, the city Ethics Commission is expected to hold a hearing, then make a recommendation to the 11-member Board of Supervisors, which ultimately will decide whether to remove Mirkarimi from office.

Interim Sheriff Vicky Hennessy also was sworn in Wednesday afternoon to serve during the suspension.

The district attorney said Mirkarimi, who was elected last November after serving two terms as a city supervisor, will be barred from carrying a gun until a judge lifts a stay-away order that also prevents the sheriff from seeing his wife, Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez, without court permission. Prosecutors said that order could stay in place for the entire three years of probation.

Mirkarimi said Tuesday he was undergoing counseling to address "my arrogance and anger management issues" and he reiterated his advocacy against domestic violence during his time as a supervisor.