Debra J. Saunders

Most importantly, though the sheriff screwed up, a bruised arm does not warrant a domestic violence prosecution. In her testimony, Linnette Peralta Haynes, Mirkarimi's former campaign manager and a one-time domestic violence counselor, described the episode as a "domestic violence-related incident" that did not establish a cycle of domestic violence.

Almost as if to bolster the argument that a bruised arm is not grounds for firing an elected official, Lee threw in the unsubstantiated charge that Mirkarimi tried to "dissuade witnesses." Here you see the payback that comes with not bowing to City Hall.

After months of over-lawyering, after submitting reams of declarations oozing with personal smear and innuendo, and after two grueling evenings of tedious questioning before the Ethics Commission, the city attorney's office failed to prove that Mirkarimi tried to shut up witnesses.

It was a waste of time and an abuse of power that proved only one thing: Sometimes when a man sets out to destroy another's reputation, he ends up staining his own brand.

Now Lee looks like the bully. If he believed the bruise was cause for firing, then he should have stuck with the case he could prove. Instead, the mayor peddled a cover-up scenario that City Hall attorneys, despite their best efforts, could not prove.

What could have been a clean inquiry, Lee made dirty.

Debra J. Saunders

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