Next Act: Board of Supervisors
August 17, 2012
The San Francisco Ethics Commission has found that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi engaged in official misconduct by inflicting physical violence on his wife during an argument, and pleading guilty to false imprisonment. Next, the Board of Supervisors must vote whether or not to remove Mirkarimi from office. A failure of the supervisors to act within 30 days would result in the Sheriff's automatic reinstatement.
The Ethics Commission decision essentially closes its lengthy proceedings, conducted against the backdrop of charges by legal and political defenders of Mirkarimi that motivations for his removal were political, and ultimately painting him as a victim of opposing political forces. Yet, the salient facts in this case do not change from start to finish. Mirkarimi pled guilty to revised charges of false imprisonment, and was sentenced to three years' probation that includes participation in a 52-week batterers' treatment program.
Out of court, and almost immediately, Mirkarimi backpedaled and instituted a public relations campaign, taking to the streets and airways to minimize the incident and obscure the facts. Aided by his attorneys, Mirkarimi softened and discounted his behavior. Ironically, Mr. Mirkarimi's dogged efforts to keep his job contradict explicitly any of the contrition, self-examination, or humility that would be required for successful completion of a batterers' treatment program in response to the guilt he admitted before the court.
This case has not continued for more than eight months because it is a political matter. The fact remains that the case began squarely because of Mirkarimi's own conduct and has continued because of a failure to take responsibility for that conduct. His actions and subsequent maneuverings fall far short of the level of conduct San Franciscans should expect of their elected officials. Mirkarimi cannot with credibility carry out the duties of Sheriff and should be removed by the Board of Supervisors.
Photo Credit: San Francisco Chronicle