How the Sheriff Came to This: Mirkarimi's Worst Decisions

Ross Mirkarimi dealt himself a bad hand, and he played it even worse.

While it's hard to conceive of any scenario in which the suspended sheriff could have retained his home life, job, and dignity, he has handled things so poorly that he will potentially lose it all. Here's a partial list of Mirkarimi's worst decisions.

• He opted to joke about accusations of spousal abuse during his inauguration;

• Mirkarimi and wife Eliana Lopez portrayed themselves as victims of a convoluted political conspiracy — Mirkarimi specifically blamed his plight on "forces at work that don't want me to become sheriff";

• By referring to a spousal abuse allegation in which a police report had been filed as "a private matter, a family matter," Mirkarimi alienated much of his progressive base and angered up the city's domestic violence activists into an anti-Mirkarimi mob. This was the equivalent of walking into a synagogue in a Yasser Arafat costume — and a very odd take on state domestic violence law for the city's top elected law-enforcement official;

Ivory Madison, the neighbor — and onetime Mirkarimi supporter and fundraiser — who filmed Lopez's tearful allegation of abuse, was portrayed by Team Mirk as a cog in a conspiracy or, at best, a busybody. She and her husband now claim Mirkarimi's intermediaries pressured them to lie to police and destroy evidence — allegations that seem far more like "misconduct" than anything else in Mayor Ed Lee's case against the sheriff;

• Finally, Mirkarimi's delay in accepting a plea deal ensured the Lopez film and subsequent cringe-worthy testimony from former flame Christina Flores — in which she alleged he lost track of whose panties were whose at his pad — became a national story.

Sam Singer, the "mitigation expert" to call if you've screwed up royally, has labeled this the case study for future mitigation experts to sift through like disaster scene inspectors. After all of this, Mirkarimi continues to fight Lee's attempts to remove him from office. While the sheriff seems to think he has support among his former colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, a vote to retain Mirkarimi would provide the opponents of the progressive supes running for re-election with a first-rate wedge issue.

For his pending case in front of the Ethics Commission, Mirkarimi brought in lawyer David Waggoner, something of the F. Lee Bailey of arguing cases in front of that body. This, at long last, was a good decision.

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It's a good list, but in terms of keeping his job as Sheriff, you buried the biggest reason in the middle of the pack:

"Mirkarimi's intermediaries pressured them to lie to police and destroy evidence — allegations that seem far more like "misconduct" than anything else in Mayor Ed Lee's case against the sheriff"Keep in mind that he was charged with "Dissuading a witness". I remain convinced that this was the charge that he would have been convicted on. The neighbors publishedwhat would have been their testimony if it went to trial:

" is an insult to his oath of office that, for the past two months, he paid a team of lawyers to relentlessly attempt to discredit, dissuade and harm my wife."

"The last time I spoke to Eliana was when she called me on Jan. 4. I recognized what I thought was Ross' voice in the background as Eliana pressured me to destroy evidence and lie to the police. Then she repeatedly called Ivory, demanding that Ivory destroy the video, e-mail and texts from Eliana about the incident. I'm an attorney, but even if I were not, I would not destroy evidence, obstruct justice or lie to the police, and neither would my wife. Our criminal justice system can work only if most people follow the law and tell the truth to law enforcement."

"After we refused to lie, Ross, Eliana and attorneys working for them attacked Ivory's character and motives. This included falsely accusing her of implausible criminal activity, such as being part of a vast political conspiracy to frame Ross, and practicing law without a license."

"Among other efforts to silence my wife, a dramatic letter was delivered to us demanding that she not testify and falsely claiming that she would be acting illegally if she did so. Attorney Paula Canny, who Ross recently admitted is being paid for by him and his "legal defense fund," signed the letter."

Dissuading a witness, intimidating a witness, tampering with witnesses, attempting to destroy evidence. Misconduct indeed.

This is why he cannot under any circumstances be permitted to continue as Sheriff. If the Board of Supervisors do not understand this (and I suspect he can find three who do not and will beat that rap), he must be recalled.


Many of his apologists are of the mindset that if there is no conviction there was no crime, insisting that because the plea bargain dropped those charges, they didn't happen. Really. Do tell that to all the victims of the world who had felony charges dropped "to spare you the ordeal of testifying" as with Richard Allen Davies ... all the sex felonies dropped so he didn't have to register as a sex offender .. so tell all those victims, like all the child victims of catholic priests, that because there was no conviction, no admission of guilt, that no crime happened. I can tell you this, no one is ever arrested on a first offense, and those released almost always reoffend. Because when you are an adult who chooses to abuse, it's a sign you just ain't right and you can't be trusted, ever.

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