Lee suspends Mirkarimi as sheriff

UPDATE: 5:37 p.m. Mayor Ed Lee announced at a news conference he will suspend Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from his post with an eye toward removing him from office for official misconduct.

Former Chief Deputy Sheriff Vicki Hennessy was named by Lee as interim sheriff.


Mayor Ed Lee just announced that San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has until 5 p.m. today to resign from his position or face an official misconduct charge and potential forced removal from office.

According to prosecutors, on December 31, Mirkarimi grabbed the arm of his wife during an argument in front of their 2-year-old son and left a bruise.

Mirkarimi, who has served less than six months as sheriff, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of his wife, for which he tearfully apologized to the media yesterday after being sentenced.

Along with three years of probation, Mirkarimi was given 100 hours of community service, nearly $600 in fines and fees, and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling.

Mirkarimi and Mayor Lee talked behind closed doors yesterday in a meeting that lasted less than 30 minutes. After the meeting Mirkarimi refused to talk to the media, saying it would be premature.

It is now known that during the meeting Mayor Ed Lee gave Mirkarimi 24 hours to make up his mind on the ultimatum that would be publicly handed to him this afternoon.

If Sheriff Mirkarimi refuses to step down, the official misconduct charge promised by the Mayor will allow Lee to select an interim Sheriff until a final decision is reached. Mirkarimi’s removal would require 9 of The City’s 11 members of the Board of Supervisors to vote him out, but only after the city’s Ethics Commission performs a fact-gathering hearing.

Currently, Mirkarimi is not allowed to carry a firearm, and a stay-away order is keeping him from having any contact with his wife, Eliana Lopez.

Despite this, Lopez’s attorney Paula Canny has said:

“Eliana Lopez is not afraid of Ross, Eliana Lopez supports Ross. She absolutely wants Ross to remain in office.”