Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: “I’m Sorry”

Written by Kat Anderson. Posted in News, Politics

Tagged: , ,

Published on March 19, 2012 with 7 Comments

Mirkarimi’s Tearful Apology Empty of New Year’s Eve Facts

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi emerged from Department 23 at the Hall of Justice this morning following his formal sentencing for his admission of guilt to one count of false imprisonment stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident involving his wife, Eliana Lopez, on New Year's Eve. Following the hearing, Mirkarimi provided a tearful mea culpa in a statement he read to a scrum of reporters. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Kat Anderson

March 19, 2012

Following acceptance of a plea agreement that convicts him of false imprisonment, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi  tearfully apologized today for the pain he has caused his wife, son, colleagues at the Sheriff’s Department, and the people of San Francisco.

Missing from his prepared statement, which followed his formal sentencing this morning at the Hall of Justice, was a recount of the events that occurred on December 31 that led him to this point. When pressed, he stated, “As I understand, some of this continues and that’s why I’m being told to be a bit guarded.” He also did not respond to a question of whether he had the moral authority to continue running the Sheriff’s Department.

Instead, Mirkarimi took full responsibility for the events that occurred on December 31, forcefully stating that he had “no excuses.” With the aid of recent counseling, he realized he was not the person that he thought he was. “I am addressing my arrogance and my anger issues,” he said.

Mirkarimi repeated his desire to be reunited with his family and said he will seek couples’ counseling when the “stay away” order is lifted. The order has prevented him from being with his wife, Eliana Lopez, since early January.

“I so badly want to reunite with my family, my wife…I love and miss her. I miss our intimacy and laughter,” Mirkarimi said through tears.

Mirkarimi praised the staff of the Sheriff’s Department for successfully running things while he has undergone “this nightmare which began before I was Sheriff.”

“The Department is running right and well,” he said.

As for himself, he described this experience as giving him a deeper understanding of what it takes to be Sheriff “and a better person.”

He sought to correct what he called a misstatement about domestic violence being a private, family matter. “I do not believe that domestic violence is a private family matter,” he declared. Rather, he was advised days before he was charged to respond to inquiries about his personal life that it was “private.”

“For the seven years that I was on the Board of Supervisors, I was a steadfast and avid advocate for the (anti) domestic violence community.” He promised to work hard to regain the confidence of the community.

“I am ashamed of myself…I will devote myself to being a better public servant…someone who should not hide from my mistakes,” Mirkarimi concluded.

Ms. Lopez is expected to provide a full public statement tomorrow, Mirkarimi’s defense attorney, Lidia Stiglich, said.

More coverage to follow.

Kat Anderson

Kat Anderson is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law and Stanford University. She has made San Francisco her home since 1988.

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Comments for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: “I’m Sorry” are now closed.

  1. If possible, I am posting the link to an online petition urging the Mayor to not interfere! I know there is a vociferous, misguided, cult like minority calling on Lee to do something, this must be countered, and we must defend Ross’s right and duty to retain his elected office.

  2. Yes, thank you, Danielle. I gave the mayor’s office a call myself. Person who answered the phone sounded kind of surprised but took my name.

  3. Thank you Danielle!!! Love and compassion are in order!

  4. He deserves everything he is getting, except the break he is getting from his die-hard supporters. Out now, or 1-termer. He is political toast. But at least we know the Sheriff’s Department can run well without him.

  5. Open letter to the Mayor/City Attorney:

    Hi Mr Mayor,

    I am writing you re your deliberations about Ross Mirkarimi. I am coming from it from the perspective of nonviolence, in the tradition of MLK, whom I’ve had the great pleasure of studying.

    Believing that you yourself ran for mayor against your own word for the higher purpose of goodwill, hard work and reconciliation, I am hoping you will apply this spirit to the aftermath of this case involving the Sheriff.

    While I understand the apparent conflict of interest in this particular situation, ie, “if Ross has been charged with false imprisonment then how can he be in charge of our jails?” I also think the legal proceedings and the amends Ross is making are remedy enough to the situation at hand. The legal system did its job in grand fashion and now it’s time for “dignity and love” as MLK would say. “This is our challenge and our overwhelming responsibility”.

    “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”…Nonviolence in the truest sense is not a strategy that one uses simply because it is expedient at the moment; nonviolence is ultimately a way of life that men live by because of the sheer morality of its claim.”

    Once upon a time, the Montgomery Improvement Association, led by MLK to guide the Montgomery Bus Boycott, was seriously challenged by one of their own—a Reverend UJ Fields, to be exact, who served as recording secretary on its executive board. He’d put the whole movement at risk and in a very bad light by essentially lying to the press, as an act of revenge it turned out, brought on by hurt ego. Here’s what MLK had to say, after giving Fields a hearing:

    “We are all aware of the weaknesses of human nature. We have all made mistakes along the way of life, and we have all had moments when our emotions overpowered us. Now some of us are here this evening to stone one of our brothers because he has made a mistake. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
    “Will we be like the unforgiving elder brother, or will we, in the spirit of Christ, follow the example of the loving and forgiving father?”

    Compassion has enemies. Moral outrage and fear are two of them. I hope you will find the strength of compassion to allow Mirkarimi to pursue his job as Sheriff. With the internalizing of important skills that he will surely gain, it is arguable that he will have an even stronger skill set to meet the challenges of his new position.

    Daniele Erville
    San Francisco

  6. I hope this family can have some privacy and peace now and that Ross Mirkarimi continues as Sheriff.