In a move that will surely throw gasoline on conspiracy theorists’ fires, the SF Chronicle today called for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to take a leave of absence if required to face charges for domestic violence.

Ross_Mirkarimi.jpgIn a move that will surely throw gasoline on conspiracy theorists’ fires, the SF Chronicle today called for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to take a leave of absence if required to face charges for domestic violence.

Last week, the news broke that after an alleged New Year’s eve altercation, Eliana Lopez, Mirkarmi’s wife, visited the home of her neighbor Ivory Madison* (a one-time Mirkarimi fundraiser) on the afternoon of Jan. 1.

During that visit, Lopez showed Madison marks on her upper arm made, she said, “when Mr. Mirkarimi grabbed her” on Dec. 31, according to documents on file at San Francisco Superior Court. Lopez was reluctant to go forward to police because of her husband’s position in San Francisco city government, Madison told police.

Last week, SFPD searched Madison’s home and seized both Madison’s iPhone and Panasonic video camera in order to view the images of the bruise.

Though Lopez has since denied any abuse allegations, and Mirkarimi’s attorney has characterized the DA’s case as “flimsy, according to an anonymous source who spoke with the Chron, “a misdemeanor case could be filed” against the sheriff “before the week is out.”

According to ABC7, if convicted, “Mirkarimi could face one year of counseling, lose his right to carry a firearm and spend time in his own jail.”

At his swearing-in as sheriff on Sunday, Mirkarimi raised eyebrows by referring to the situation as “a private matter, a family matter.” The Weekly argues that, this verbiage “is both legally incorrect and sends the disturbing message that accusations of domestic violence are to be kept behind closed doors.”

According to the Chron, at his swearing in, Mirkarimi also suggested “that the police probe, or at least the fact that it became public knowledge, may have been politically motivated, saying there may have been ‘forces at work that want to stop me from becoming sheriff.'”

This statement inspired a blog post on the SFBG’s site alleging, among other things, that “The news reports about the incident were clearly leaked by the SFPD. So, I’m sure, was the search warrant (that’s a public document, but I honestly don’t think the Examiner tracked it down, I think it was delivered to the paper by a source in the department).”

I believe that the SFBG’s referring to this Examiner report, which, like our report, was based on documents our reporter stood in line at the Hall of Justice to pick up, after repeated calls to SFPD and the DA’s office over two days.

In fact, according to Appeal reporter Chris Roberts, Joshua Sabatini, the Ex reporter responsible for the article in question, was ahead of Roberts in line to pick up the docs.

But you don’t need me to pick apart that SFBG piece — many of the nearly 90 (at publication time) comments on the piece do that just fine.

But if conspiracy theorists didn’t already feel like something was up, there’s nothing like an editorial in the Chron to get them going — and today’s should do that gloriously. In an editorial, the paper argues that “There are compelling reasons (Mirkarimi) should not serve as sheriff during such a legal process.”

“One is the consumption of time and energy a defense would require. The other is the message it would send to the city about the seriousness of a domestic violence allegation.”

*Disclosure: I’m socially acquainted with Ivory Madison, but other than a polite email from her declining comment, she and I have not discussed the case.

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!