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

Prominent Lawyers Group Charge Oakland Police w/ using Excessive Force-Walter Riley, Lawyer & Father of Boots of the Coup Arrested

For those who don’t know, Oakland Police used what they called a containment strategy. This is where they had large numbers of police on all 4 sides of a street which prevented folks who came to speak out from leaving. So what this meant was the heavily publicized speak out which was sanctioned and supported by the city of Oakland had lots of folks come to 14th and Broadway and City Hall. At 8’clock the police shut it down as planned.

The police then announced it was an unlawful assembly and people would be subject to arrest if they did not leave. This included everyone from elected officials to lawyers to press who didn’t have the special green cards that the police had issued to corporate outlets embedded with them..

When people went to leave they walked down Broadway toward the city center where they were met by a line of police who pushed the crowd and started marching in the opposite direction..

As the crowd moved hastily back past 14th street to 16th they were met by another line of riot police who told them they could not go past… This meant the crowd of two hundred or so folks turned to go up 14th only to find another wall of police who were advancing forward. This left one way to go which was toward City hall which had its backstage area and other exit points blocked off or into the BART station.

Police closed the BART. So folks were contained in this human box set up by the police who were advancing forward in full riot gear. People got angry and that’s when the Footlocker on broadway got ransacked.  What was not shown on the news was the police in full riot gear were standing right there. Seems to me they could’ve easily moved in, but opted not to, while at the same time preventing peaceful protestors from leaving.  Some of the aggressive behavior is captured in the footage below..

-Davey D-

OPD, Law Enforcement Used Excessive Force At Oscar Grant Protests: NLG Decries Police Tactics, Assaults on Peaceful Protesters

Yesterday at 8:31pm


Press Conference Wednesday, July 14, 12 Noon, 14th and Broadway in Oakland

Oakland—Despite claims by Oakland Police (OPD) and city officials that law enforcement used restraint during last Thursday’s protests following the Johannes Mehserle verdict, details emerging paint a very different picture. Police used excessive force against a largely peaceful protest, violently attacking a number of people. Police arrested many demonstrators who had done nothing wrong, and then held them in jail through the night and in some cases through the weekend and beyond.

Among those arrested were NLGSF member, and prominent Oakland attorney, Walter Riley. “Thursday’s law enforcement conduct must be investigated. The police were provocative and seemed determined to instigate violence, which of course, served their police contract negotiations with Oakland at a time when they are facing layoffs of 80 officers,” said Riley. “In the organized rally where protesters, including me, were helping to ensure peaceful protest, the police helped to perpetuate a narrative of violence by allowing a small number of people to vandalize businesses when they could have stopped it.”

Also arrested were Oakland School Board member Jumoke Hinton Hodge, 69-year-old former school principal Susan Harman, journalists and legal observers. Many of the arrestees were seriously injured by the police, including a handful who were taken to the hospital from the scene and at least one individual who was denied medication, causing a potentially life threatening situation to an elderly member of the community.

“Last Thursday a court in Los Angeles sent a disgraceful message about police violence, and that message was reinforced by the conduct of Oakland Police and other law enforcement Thursday evening,” said Carlos Villarreal, NLGSF Executive Director. “OPD and outside agencies brought in as reinforcement used overwhelming force on a largely nonviolent assembly, sweeping up lawyers, legal observers, journalists and community members, and seriously injuring a number of individuals.”

Walter Riley Father of Boots Riley of the Coup was Arrested in front of his Law Office

Several years ago the National Lawyers Guild and ACLU obtained a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit over OPD brutality toward demonstrators, and at that time OPD adopted new crowd control policies designed to safeguard freedom of speech in just this sort of volatile situation.

“If OPD had followed its own crowd control policies, the injuries would have been avoided,” explained NLGSF attorney Rachel Lederman. “The aggressive use of police formations, baton beatings and indiscriminate arrests were unnecessary and violated people’s constitutional right to protest. To make things even worse, OPD violated state law by jailing people for long periods of time who had been arrested for very minor offenses.”

The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) condemns the police abuse by OPD and other law enforcement on the scene and is investigating possible legal action. The NLGSF is a human rights bar association founded in 1937 with hundreds of members throughout the Bay Area. Find out more at

Carlos Villarreal

Executive Director

National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter