While San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on Monday ended the domestic violence case against him by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, Mayor Ed Lee said today the sheriff’s political future is anything but settled.
Mirkarimi, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor false imprisonment in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop three other charges stemming from a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly grabbed the arm of his wife during an argument.
Mirkarimi will be sentenced next Monday to three years’ probation, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, 100 hours of community service and a $400 domestic violence fine, and will be required to attend family counseling, prosecutors said.
Lee, speaking to reporters this morning at an unrelated event, said he is consulting with the city attorney’s office to determine how to move forward.
“I know perhaps the lawyers felt that they’re settling the case, but our duties are different,” Lee said. “Our duties are not to be pled out.”
Under the City Charter, the mayor has the option to suspend the sheriff for official misconduct. The charges would be considered at a hearing of the city’s Ethics Commission, which would then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
Nine of 11 supervisors would have to approve the charges for Mirkarimi to be removed from office. Mirkarimi sat on the Board of Supervisors for seven years before being elected sheriff.
Lee said, “We have to do, I think, what the law requires, to see whether or not the admitted guilt rises to the level of misconduct.”
He said the charge of false imprisonment is especially troubling given Mirkarimi’s office.
“Just the word imprisonment, which is part of the duties of the sheriff, gives us cause to review this,” Lee said.
Lee said Mirkarimi called him following the guilty plea Monday but that he did not talk to him. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Fahey said Mirkarimi had called to set up a meeting with the mayor.
“I have to do my due diligence before even the possibility of meeting with Sheriff Mirkarmi,” Lee said. “I have to have some answers and feel comfortable before I talk to him.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News