As an organization of Bay Area attorneys, legal workers, law students, and community members, the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter urges the City of San Francisco to stop using public resources to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office.
We are deeply concerned that his suspension without pay by Mayor Ed Lee is an affront to the democratic will of the people of San Francisco, and that the current efforts to remove him from office both lack sufficient due process protections and are politically motivated. We take the accusations of Eliana Lopez very seriously and believe domestic violence must be dealt with in a way that respects the survivors and reduces harm. However, the official reaction to the abuse Mirkarimi undoubtedly committed has been dominated by political grandstanding, not concern for domestic violence survivors.
Notwithstanding this criticism, the Guild also calls on Sheriff Mirkarimi to take full responsibility for his behavior and, if he retains his office, to work with community based organizations on restorative approaches to domestic violence beyond the criminal justice model.
We take seriously the need to protect and support people who are subject to violence of any kind, including within the family. Here, the needs of the Sheriff’s wife, Eliana Lopez, and their child, are of utmost priority. Lopez’s wishes, her definition of her experience, and her desire to rebuild her family are being completely ignored. Ms. Lopez has stated as much:
“I am sad and hurt by the elected officials of the city of San Francisco: Mayor Lee, City Attorney Herrera, District Attorney George Gascón, and Judge Wong. I believe what Judge Wong, the District Attorney, the City Attorney, and Mayor Lee have done to me is far worse than anything they accuse Ross of doing. I hope they realize after reflection that what they have done is irreparable and perpetually damaging to me and my family.”
We cannot support efforts that deny a survivor any voice and undermine her opinions and experiences. Doing so contravenes the purpose of domestic violence protection.
Because Mirkarimi has a record as a political progressive who has championed policies that many in law enforcement vigorously oppose, we believe this process is largely motivated by politics and not concern for victims of domestic abuse. Mirkarimi has been a strong supporter of San Francisco’s Sanctuary city policies that protect immigrants, has consistently opposed racial profiling by police, and supports efforts to decrease the jail population as part of the budget and jail re-alignment processes. In contrast, Mayor Lee has recently called for NYC police style stop-and-frisk programs in San Francisco. If District Attorney Gascon and Mayor Lee succeed in removing Mirkarimi from office, we are concerned that law enforcement policies in San Francisco will become more oppressive, and the jail population will increase.
By suspending an elected official for a misdemeanor committed before taking office, Mayor Lee is subverting democratic will before Mirkarimi has even had a chance to put his policies in place. A recall would be the appropriate, democratic mechanism for accomplishing Lee’s stated goals. Instead, the process before the Ethics Commission, and ultimately before the Board of Supervisors just before an election, disenfranchises San Franciscans.
Unlike the accused, the Mayor has the unlimited resources of the City Attorney at his disposal; and four of the Ethics Commissioners are appointed by people who are or will be directly involved in this case: the Mayor, the City Attorney, the District Attorney and the Board of Supervisors. At the very minimum, the situation raises the appearance of impropriety, conflict of interest and bias.
For the reasons stated above, we request that Mayor Lee immediately stop using scarce city & county resources to attack a democratically elected official. Should neither the Mayor nor the Commissioners have the integrity to end this assault on democracy, we ask that the Board of Supervisors vote to uphold the will of the voters.
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As folks read this statement by the NLG.. they may also wanna keep in mind that Mayor Ed Lee has returned to the war path about trying to bring Stop and Frisk police policy to San Francisco. He’s using the Colorado massacre as his excuse.. Recently Reggie W Lyles and former police captain and Deacon at Allen Temple church noted in a facebook post..
What -does “Stop and Frisk” got to do with preventing a Krazay man who can buy 6,000 rounds of ammo, an AR-17, Remmington shotgun and two Glock 10’s within weeks over the internet? Mayor Lee just wants to harrass Blacks like Alioto did when he ordered every Black person to be Stop and Frisked coming into San Francisco from across the Bay Bridge, during the Zebra killing spree. Pittsburgh Steeler’s Lynn Swan and his brother got “Stopped and Frisked and assaulted” by SFPD, sued and won. If I am not mistaken, Swann had won the MVP of the super bowl at the time.
Recently the good folks from Poor People’s News Network posted up this commentary expressing opposition and outrage to Mayor Ed Lee
The opposition to what SF Mayor Ed Lee is doing with the help of some agencies of San Francisco’s Government is growing. And it is just starting.
*John Avalos 415.554-6975, David Chiu 415.554.7450, David Campos 415.554-5144, Carmen Chu 415.554.7460,
Malia Cohen 415.554.7670, Sean Elsberard 415.554.6516, Mark Farrel 415.554.7752, Jane Kim 415.554.7970,
Eric Mar 415.554.7410,.Christina Olague 415-554-7630. Scott Wiener 415.554-6968, Mayor Ed Lee 415.554-6141.