From the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
July 19, 2012
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s removal from office has triggered a serious discussion on issues ranging from a political figure’s legal accountability for his or her transgressions, to unscrupulous dismissals, political opportunism, and female disempowerment.
We at the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club are committed to justice for Eliana Lopez, Ross Mirkarimi, and their son Theo Mirkarimi. The current process as it stands now gives us no confidence that this will take place: Over the past several months, Eliana Lopez’s wishes have been blatantly disregarded, and opportunities for Ross Mirkarimi to come to terms with his behavior and the after-effects of his actions have been compromised at the altar of political spectacle.
The legal process governing domestic violence aims to hold the abuser accountable for his or her acts of violence, requiring, among other things, classes in violence reduction and anger management. We believe that this process has been deliberately misused in the case of Ross Mirkarimi and Eliana Lopez. District Attorney George Gascón has piled on inappropriate charges, evidence was made public against the will and without the consent of Eliana Lopez in a wide variety of media outlets, and Sheriff Mirkarimi was wrongfully suspended from his job without pay.
Eliana Lopez may have had marital problems in her life, but this does not give the Mayor, the courts, prosecutors, the media, or a handful of anti-domestic violence advocates the power to erase her agency as a human being. What started out as a domestic dispute has devolved into a raw attempt to unseat an independent political figure, resulting in a sustained campaign to humiliate Eliana and her family.
The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club strongly opposes domestic violence of any kind and firmly believe in honoring women’s rights and voices. We believe the circumstances surrounding Sherriff Mirkarimi and his family were appropriately addressed in the courts. And Mayor Lee’s egregious politicization and fiscal irresponsibility on this issue diminishes the seriousness of domestic violence and disrespects the expressed wishes of Eliana.
Ross Mirkarimi has consistently advocated to fund domestic violence response programs, programs protecting the rights of women, services for the homeless and other vulnerable populations, and demonstrated a commitment to serving his community. In this light, we feel he has been unjustly targeted. We also believe it is critical that he be given the opportunity to serve as Sheriff, per the will of the voters who elected him in November of 2011.
Therefore, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club strongly supports the opportunity for Ross Mirkarimi to demonstrate accountability for his actions and for his family to receive restorative justice, something which they have been denied up to this point.
Furthermore, Mayor Lee and all associated parties must offer a public apology to Eliana Lopez for her systematic disempowerment and for nullifying her rights as an individual.
We call on the members of the Ethics Commission and the Board of Supervisors to oppose the removal of the duly-elected Sheriff of San Francisco.
We demand that Mayor Lee reinstate Sheriff Mirkarimi and restore his full back pay. And in order for Eliana to once again regain her voice, the Mayor’s Office must reimburse her travel back to San Francisco so that she can testify in her own right before the Ethics Commission.
We demand that the District Attorney rigorously investigate the possibility that Mayor Lee has committed perjury in this matter, with the same amount of vigor shown in his investigation of Sheriff Mirkarimi.
We urge all parties involved in this situation to reflect on the current state of advocacy for the victims of domestic violence and to improve the system so that meaningful justice can be sought by all survivors (regardless of immigration status, economic disadvantages, gender, or political affiliation) without fear that political opportunism, media exploitation, or a hijacked legal process will jeopardize their rights.
This resolution is put forth by longtime LGBT activists, feminists, social justice advocates, survivors of domestic violence, and members of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club of San Francisco.