The San Francisco District Attorney formally filed charges against the new sheriff in town, Ross Mirkarimi last week. The top cop faces three misdemeanor charges in conjunction with an incident that occurred on New Year’s Eve with his wife. At his swearing in ceremony, he brushed the incident off as a “family affair” and maintains he is innocent of all the charges.
The charges Mirkarimi faces include domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. He was booked and released on $35,000 bail from the jail he is in charge of. The judge also approved a protection order against Mirkarimi, forcing him to have no contact with his wife and child and barring him from returning to the family home.
The new sheriff refuses to step down and says he will fight the charges to the very end. His wife, at his swearing in, supported him and said “We are together and we are fighting. We are going to fight this.”
Evidence against Mirkarimi includes a video filmed by the neighbor of his wife explaining the incident and revealing bruises on her arm. Police have obtained the video, along with a photo and text messages that were sent in conjunction with the incident.
An elected sheriff can only be removed when convicted of a felony charge, something Mirkarimi is not facing. However, the Mayor has the authority to suspend him during the case, though he has not alluded to this being in the plans. He could also appoint a temporary caretaker while Mirkarimi is under suspension.
The problem with a potential suspension is that the decision would take the approval of 9 of the 11 supervisors serving on the Board of Supervisors, all but one of which served with Mirkarimi when he was a supervisor himself.
This sort of conflict is common when law enforcement is accused of domestic violence. And it’s part of the reason many women who are abused by police officers don’t come forward—they feel it will all be for naught.
According to this article from the San Francisco Gate, “women suffer domestic abuse in at least forty percent of police officer families.” This is markedly higher than the 25% experienced in the average American household.
Whether it’s the profession that attracts an abusive personality or if the profession turns well-minded men into more violent spouses, the numbers say cops are more likely to abuse than others.
It makes no difference whether you are a police officer or a cab driver, when you are accused of domestic violence, the whole world can crumble around you. It’s during tough times like this that you need the assistance of a skilled attorney. Contact our offices today if you are accused of a domestic violence offense.