The target of their current campaign is the elected Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. After six months of demeaning publicity and headlines such as "Sheriff arrested for wife beating," last week the city's Ethics Commission voted 4 to 1 against him. He has been suspended without pay and may soon be fired.
The saga isn't over yet, but the story is so bizarre that it deserves to be told nationwide. The accused has my sympathy, even though he is a left-wing Democrat. Yes, I believe that leftists deserve due process and fair treatment in our criminal justice system.
The local prosecutor charged Mirkarimi with the crimes of domestic violence and child endangerment, which sound bad, but the evidence was trivial. The domestic violence charge was based on Mirkarimi grabbing his wife's arm during a New Year's Eve argument, which allegedly left a bruise, and the child endangerment charge was based solely on their toddler (who was not touched) merely being present when this argument took place.
Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, never made any complaint and she publicly defended her husband. She is an intelligent adult, a former Venezuelan telenovela star, who is perfectly able to make her own decisions.
At Mirkarimi's arraignment, Lopez declined to paint herself as a domestic violence victim. She told the judge, "This is unbelievable. I don't have any complaint against my husband."
Lopez added, "This country is trying to pull my family apart. This is the real violence, I believe." She made a written statement saying that the episode was "completely taken out of context."
Outside the court, Lopez told reporters that "this country has not allowed me to work on my marriage in a healthy way. I feel like ... everybody is using my family, myself, in a political game just to destroy Ross. ... This country is destroying my family."
Mirkarimi's trouble was aggravated by a picture taken by a neighbor -- not of the argument -- but only of the bruise on the wife's arm. Lopez did not authorize the release of the picture to the police.
A picture of a bruise is meaningless, especially when no one is claiming to be hurt. Some people bruise easily. Many people get ugly bruises playing sports and apparently enjoy every minute of the game.
Lopez did not request a restraining order but Judge Susan Breall issued one anyway, forbidding Mirkarimi to see his wife or son or to go into his own house. He hasn't seen them for many months.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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