Ethics Commission: Mirkarimi Committed Official Misconduct
The Ethics Commission voted 4-1 to sustain findings of official misconduct, with Commissioner Ben Hur dissenting. They will create a summary document of their hearing at a later date for the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors now has 30 days to act, although it is unclear whether that clock begins Thursday night after the vote, or after the commission files their paperwork. Nine of 11 supervisors must vote to remove Mirkarimi for the suspended sheriff to lose his job permanently.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern was tweeting live from the hearing:
The eight-month story of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s struggle with charges of domestic violence will take a new twist today with the city’s Ethics Commission scheduled to recommend on whether he should stay in office.
The commission will hear closing arguments from both sides this morning, and issue a ruling after lunch.
You can watch the hearing live on the San Francisco Government television channel.
And you can follow live blogging on Twitter:
Here is some background on the case from the Associated Press:
The five-member panel has heard weeks of testimony and evidence during a trial-like proceeding to determine Mirkarimi’s fitness for office. Mayor Ed Lee is seeking to remove Mirkarimi from office after the sheriff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment.
Lee suspended him without pay in March. The conviction stems from a New Year’s Eve fight Mirkarimi had with his wife, the Venezuelan TV actress Eliana Lopez, that left her with a bruised bicep.
The commission is scheduled to make its recommendation after hearing closing arguments from the sheriff’s lawyer and from the city attorney’s office, which is representing the mayor.
The panel will also question the lawyers about the case after the arguments and then deliberate for several hours. Its recommendation will be sent to the Board of Supervisors, where it will take the votes of nine out of 11 members to remove Mirkarimi from office.
The final day of the hearing prompted competing noontime rallies Thursday outside City Hall, where the commission is conducting its hearing.
Mirkarimi supporters sent an email for their rally, calling on sheriff proponents to “let the Ethics Commission know exactly how you feel about the mayor’s unprecedented attempt to usurp the will of the people in order to consolidate his power.”
At the same time and place, supporters of domestic violence victims planned their own rally to urge commissioners to recommend removal.
Three organizations, La Casa de las Madres, Domestic Violence Consortium and Futures Without Violence, urged commissioners in a statement Wednesday “to stay focused on the fact that Mirkarimi pled guilty to abusing his wife and as a result is not fit to serve as Sheriff.”