Sheriff Is Reinstated Despite Domestic Violence Plea
In a surprise decision that ended a political battle here, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who was sentenced in March to three years of probation after pleading guilty in a domestic violence case, was reinstated late Tuesday by the city’s Board of Supervisors.
The decision was a significant defeat for Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who had suspended Mr. Mirkarimi and strongly pressed for his removal, saying that he would find it extremely difficult to work with him. Mr. Lee said in a statement that “the board’s decision returns a convicted domestic batterer to lead the sheriff’s office.”
The mayor needed 9 of the 11 supervisors to agree to oust the sheriff, a result that he had been expected to achieve, given the nature of Mr. Mirkarimi’s case. But four of the supervisors voted to reinstate Mr. Mirkarimi, condemning the domestic violence but arguing that it did not amount to official misconduct.
The vote came after almost nine hours of discussions. The sheriff said he looked forward to going back to work immediately.
Lawyers for the sheriff had argued that the domestic violence occurred before Mr. Mirkarimi was sworn in and was unrelated to his official duties. Mr. Mirkarimi and his supporters also argued that he was being targeted for his liberal politics in a city that is becoming more politically moderate.