National Lawyers Guild’s Statement on the Suspension of SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi & Ethics Commission

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.

Ross Mirkarimi

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.

Anyone can help by sending emails or calling the different entities at the City Hall in San Francisco.
Eric Mar <>; David Chiu <>; Christina Oleague <>; John Avalos <>; Mark Farrell <>; Carmen Chu <>; Jane Kim <>; Sean Elsbernd <>; Scott Wiener <>; Malia Cohen <>; Office of the City Attorney <>; <>; Ethics Commission

*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.
*Ethics Commission phone # 415-252-3100

Is the Case to Remove Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi a Political Witch-Hunt? It Sure Seems Like It

The domestic violence case involving newly elected SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and the all out efforts to remove him from office is an interesting one that raises a bunch of questions on a number of levels. Is this a political witch hunt or a concerned group of politicians showing zero tolerance for domestic violence and unethical behavior by the sheriff, law enforcement and public officials in general?

Such questions are asked from the standpoint of watching the  Ethics Commission meet today to determine what procedures will be followed during Mirkarimi’s upcoming hearing and seeing how SF Mayor Ed Lee over the past couple of months has gone all out leaving no stone unturned in his dogged determination to remove Mirkarimi from office.

We’ve heard Mayor Lee say things like; He has ‘concern for public safety‘ and he wants to ‘restore the public trust‘.. Ok,we can all get that.. very few would disagree.

So one has to wonder why such determination isn’t shown when the police do things like brutalize and shoot its citizens in highly egregious and questionable circumstances?

We didn’t see Mayor Ed Lee go all out when Kenneth Harding was shot and left to die over a $2 bus transfer last summer?  Hundreds of people came out to confront the police over that shooting. Scores of witnesses said it was unjust  yet,  we didn’t see the Mayor try to restore public trust in that situation..For that matter there have been scores of demonstrations in SF around the issue of police misconduct, many of them much larger and more widespread than anything around Mirkarimi, yet we have never seen this type of fervor to correct wrong doings and restore public trust

It was just two years ago we saw how SFPD was rocked by one of the largest scandals in the department’s history. Here we saw over 50 felony cases get overturned thanks to unethical behavior by cops who falsified reports and may have planted evidence on folks., yet we didn’t see all the stops pulled out around that.. We didn’t see procedures to remove the chief or any other supervising officer for allowing that to go down on their watch..One has to wonder why..

Mayor Ed Lee

Even if there are rules in place that hand tied  Mayor Lee, one still might ask why didn’t we see him simply  express anger and disdain the way he’s done around the Mikarimi situation?

Is this a case of politics? We know that Makarimi a former SF Supervisor and co-founder of SF Green Party,  has long been one of the more progressive voices in SF politics. He’s well-known and well liked. When he was running for sheriff he talked about how he would be one help out homeowners and not the banks when it came to foreclosures. If anyone could start the process of changing the inner workings of law enforcement and moving it in a decidedly more progressive direction, it would be Ross Makarimi.

Needless to say his run for Sheriff attracted a lot of attention and gave folks hope. It may have also garnered him some political enemies who seized upon any opportunity to bring him down..

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s no excuse for domestic violence. It should not be tolerated on any level  and if there’s procedure to go through Mirkarimi, no matter how progressive and likeable should go through it and accept his fate.. But given that this procedure being pursued by the Mayor is applicable to all types of ‘unethical behavior’ among public servants, why start and stop with Ross and no one else? Where’s the political muster to after other public servants and their transgressions?

Moving this scenario above and beyond San Francisco, one has to wonder why we don’t see the political brass of a city like Oakland going all out to remove police chiefs and officers when we have cops blatantly lying as they did recently when they shot and killed unarmed Alan Blueford and then claimed he shot them injuring an officer.. Evidence surfaces showing the officer shot himself, yet we see no procedure to remove him or the police chief who publicly covered for him.. Why is that? Is shooting, killing and lying about it not a threat to public safety? Is it not unethical behavior by a public servant?

People have fought long and hard to hold public officials in particular police officers accountable. We need to keep our eyes on this case around Ross Mirkarimi. from the looks of it this seems to be political payback where folks are pretending to be concerned about unethical behavior and domestic violence.. If Mayor Lee’s zeal for protecting the public is disingenuous and we see little or no movements in other areas then he will have done 3x as much damage to the public trust than Ross Mirkarimi ever did.