Members of the San Francisco Labor Council gathered in the city’s Mission District Wednesday to call for the reinstatement of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
The council has opposed the removal of Mirkarimi, who was suspended by Mayor Ed Lee in March following a misdemeanor conviction for false imprisonment in connection with an incident in which he grabbed his wife’s arm during an argument, causing a bruise.
The fate of Mirkarimi’s job as sheriff rests in the hands of the Board of Supervisors. The board will soon consider evidence gathered at a months-long hearing of the city’s Ethics Commission, which last month upheld the official misconduct charges lodged by the mayor.
Brenda Barros, an employee at San Francisco General Hospital and member of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said at today’s news conference that Lee should not have suspended Mirkarimi and that the board should reinstate the sheriff.
“There was no real reason besides a political reason to want Ross out,” Barros said. “It’s been thrown way out of whack.”
She said the Dec. 31 incident involving Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, and his subsequent conviction did not rise to the level of requiring his ouster.
“No way should any person, male or female, lose their job over this,” Barros said. “It’s a workers’ rights issue.”
Roger Scott, a Labor Council delegate and past president of American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, the union for City College of San Francisco faculty, said he was not a supporter of Mirkarimi at first.
“But the more I learned about it, the more I changed my mind,” Scott said.
He said removal of Mirkarimi by administrative charges was “anti-democratic” and said if people want to remove him, they should do it in a recall election.
Scott said he thinks the Board of Supervisors will not “be politically motivated or intimidated enough to remove him from office.”
Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to uphold the charges for Mirkarimi to be removed as sheriff.
Wednesday’s news conference was held outside the San Francisco Women’s Building, a community center that connects women with social services and community and educational events.
Speakers at the event said some groups associated with women’s rights or domestic violence prevention that have called for Mirkarimi’s removal were motivated more with increasing donations to their causes rather than looking out for the sheriff’s wife.
“The same people that claim to be protecting Eliana have been doing nothing but harm her,” Barros said.
The Women’s Building was not associated with today’s event, said its development director Tatjana Loh.
“I guess they were just using it as a visual,” Loh said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News