Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ross Mirkarimi Must Go

Ross Mirkarimi Must Go

Ross Mirkarimi was a termed out San Francisco Supervisor. Like many politicians, the private sector did not appeal to him. He must find another office to fill. The otherwise unqualified Mirkarimi was elected o the open Sheriff’s position.

A funny thing happened to the newly inaugurated Sheriff of the City and County of San Francisco. The SFPD arrested him a few days later pursuant to a warrant sought by the District Attorney’s Office and signed by a judge. The grounds for the arrest were domestic violence. He got into an altercation with his wife on New Year’s Eve, in front of their young son, and physically attacked her while screaming obscenities.

His arrest warrant has been released to the public and is available on line. It is very illuminating – not as sordid as the Jerry Sandusky grand jury report, but interesting. If his wife’s excited utterances are to be believed, then it was at least the second time he attacked her. Once is once too many, but twice shows a dangerous pattern.

Are the charges true?

He pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment a few days ago. I repeat, he pled guilty to a domestic violence charge. He apologized and admitted to arrogance and anger issues.

His initial response to the charges was that he was the victim of an attempt by the San Francisco political establishment, who opposed his progressive views. Ross, inter alia, was a founder of the California Green Party.

I was probably in high school in san Francisco the last time an attempt was made to silence a progressive politician in the City, and I can’t remember who that was. Politicians, such as Mayor Agnos, may have been voted out of office due to incompetence, but certainly not for being too progressive.

Mirkarimi also said any dispute between his wife and him was a private matter.
There’s that arrogance again, as well as self-denial.

Any progressive in San Francisco, indeed most Americans today, understand that curbing domestic violence is one of the highest law enforcement priorities. Police no longer place domestic violence calls at the bottom of the priorities, unlike decades earlier. They know, as it turns out in the Mirkarimi case that the victim will often not want to press charges. They also know that getting in between the parties in a domestic violence encounter is dangerous. Thus, they would often fail to respond.

That was then; this is now. The mores of society have changed. Law enforcement responds, as shown by the willingness of a judge, the Da, and the SFPD to pursue a case against the Sheriff.

The law also changed. Connecticut Federal District Court Blumenfeld issued an opinion in 1984, Thurman v. City of Torrington, holding the city liable for violating plaintiff’s constitutional right of equal protection in failing to respond to her repeated requests to protect her against her abusive spouse. The city was discriminating against women who are the victims of domestic violence. I believe she was awarded over $1 million in damages.

It had now also become therefore too expensive for police to ignore the domestic abuse claims.

Mirkarimi pled guilty, but did believe that would affect his ability as Sheriff to carry on his responsibilities. The Sheriff, in charge of jails, courts, and enforcing court orders in domestic abuse cases, saw no problem in staying in office.

There’s that arrogance again.

Mayor Ed Lee suspended him from office yesterday, albeit with pay, and filed official misconduct charges against him. He is now in the Sheriff’s Rubber Room.

The Sheriff has become a disgrace and a laughing stock to San Francisco.
San Francisco deserves better.

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