Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 43 / 23 October 2014
 

District attorney calls on sheriff to back off domestic violence duties

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón today (Wednesday, October 10) called on reinstated Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to recuse himself from his duties relating to the custody, supervision, safety, and rehabilitation of domestic violence offenders.

“Ross Mirkarimi is on probation in this county for a crime of domestic violence,” Gascón said in a statement. “He is, at a minimum, incapable of adequately performing the functions of his office that relate to crimes of domestic violence.”

Mirkarimi didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

[Updated 10/12/12]: Mirkarimi’s attorney David Waggoner said in an email Wednesday that the sheriff “is focused on renewing his job duties and it would be inappropriate and premature to respond to demands made in the heat of the moment.  It’s time for cooler heads to prevail on all sides and for everyone to get back to performing the jobs they were elected to carry out.” [End update]

The Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 Tuesday, October 9 not to sustain Mayor Ed Lee’s official misconduct charges against Mirkarimi. Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay in March after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that stemmed from a December 2011 domestic violence incident with his wife, Eliana Lopez.

The DA said he appreciates the work of the board and other city officials, but “I believe I echo the sentiment of many San Franciscans when I say I have grave concerns about Ross Mirkarimi’s ability to manage the sheriff’s department. … What I will not accept is any compromise of public safety as a result of his reinstatement.”

During the remainder of Mirkarimi’s three-year probation sentence, Gascón said, “he needs to wall himself off from this conflict by appointing a high level administrator within his department to oversee all domestic violence related work.” That administrator should be allowed to make all domestic violence-related decisions, including the domestic violence batterer’s program overseen by the sheriff’s department, supervision of inmates being held for domestic violence-related crimes, and direct discipline of sheriff’s personnel charged for domestic violence crimes, the DA said.

“I will not allow the clock to be rolled back on 30 years of progress in protecting victims of domestic violence,” Gascón stated. “No victim of crime should fear that their call for help will go unanswered. No victim should have to consider whether their claim will be taken seriously because they are reporting it to an individual who has committed the same crime.”

Gascón has encountered some questions about his office’s handling of domestic violence cases. The SF Public Press recently reported the DA’s office’s “prosecutions for domestic violence crimes was the lowest per capita in the Bay Area.” Gascón has said his office would examine the situation, the news site reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 10, 2012 @ 4:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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