Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s wife told neighbors following an alleged New Year’s Eve domestic violence incident that the sheriff and former District 5 supervisor told her he was a “powerful” man who could take their 2-year-old son away from her, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Scroll down to see and download a PDF of Mirkarimi's arrest warrant affidavit.
A Jan. 13 warrant for Mirkarimi’s arrest seems to portray a volatile relationship with his wife Eliana Lopez, centered around custody of their son Theo. The documents also reference an earlier alleged incident of domestic abuse against her.
Lopez went to her neighbor Ivory Madison on Jan. 1 and showed her a bruise on her right bicep, said inspector Richard Daniele of the Police Department’s Domestic Violence Response Unit in the affidavit.
The information was gathered from a police interview with Madison on Jan. 4, after she came forward to police. Cops later collected emails and texts between the two women describing the incident, and Madison’s video camera, which reportedly was used to document Lopez’s injury.
“This happened yesterday,” a crying Lopez says on the video, according to the affidavit. “Two times in 2011 and this is the second time this is happening.”
“I told Ross I want to work on the marriage, we need help,” Lopez tells Madison. “I been telling him we need help and I’m going to use this just in case he wants to take Theo away from me because he did said [sic] that he is very powerful and can do it.”
The couple’s son was born in 2009. Mirkarimi met Lopez, a former Venezuelan soap opera star, during a trip to Brazil.
Mirkarimi, 50, has been charged with three misdemeanors: domestic violence, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. The last charge is for allegedly trying to prevent Lopez from reporting the incident to police. Mirkarimi is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday.
Both Mirkarimi and Lopez have denied there was any abuse. His attorney Bob Waggener has described the case against his client as “flimsy.”
Mirkarimi, who was elected sheriff in November, has pledged to fight the charges and said he will not resign.
Attempts by police to interview Mirkarimi and Lopez were denied by their attorneys, Daniele wrote in the affidavit.
During a Jan. 11 follow-up interview, Madison told investigators that when Lopez came to her home on Jan. 1, Lopez “immediately broke down in tears” and gave her “a free flowing narrative” of the New Year’s Eve incident, according to the affidavit.
Lopez told Madison that on Dec. 31, the couple and their son were driving to a restaurant for lunch and Lopez asked Mirkarimi if it would be alright if she went to visit her family in Venezuela after Mirkarimi’s Jan. 8 inauguration, the affidavit said.
Mirkarimi “started to scream ‘f--- you, f--- you, you are trying to take Theo away from me,’” Daniele wrote. Mirkarimi then turned the car around and “stated something to the effect that she didn’t deserve to eat,” while Theo sat in the back seat, he said.
Back inside their home, the fight continued more loudly and Mirkarimi “continued to be verbally abusive and physically abusive,” including “pushing, pulling and grabbing” by Mirkarimi, Madison told police. Lopez told Madison that Theo was present during the altercation and she told her husband, “look what this is doing to our son, look what you are doing to our son, please stop.”
Lopez then ran into the street screaming and threatening to call police, according to the affidavit. The young son was also outside, crying and screaming, when Mirkarimi apologized and asked her to come back in.
The affidavit says that at Madison’s home, Lopez told Madison that Mirkarimi was in the shower and did not know she was at her house. Lopez told her that Mirkarimi did not want her to leave the couple’s home, told her not to tell anyone about the incident and “looked scared” when Lopez said she was going to leave.
A second female neighbor, who has not been named, told police on Jan. 12 that on Jan. 4, Lopez told her “that this was the second time that Ross Mirkarimi had been physically abusive in the last year, with the last time occurring in March,” Daniele wrote. “The witness said that she can sometimes hear ‘mumbling’ and ‘fighting’ from the victim’s residence,” but nothing that made her worry about the safety of Lopez or her son, he said.
At least once in the past year, the neighbor told police she had heard Mirkarimi yell “Get the f--- out!” the affidavit said.
Lopez told the second neighbor also that Mirkarimi “was scared” Lopez “was going to talk and tell what happened,” the affidavit said.
Lopez told the neighbor “she wasn’t sure what to do and that Ross Mirkarimi had told the victim that he was a powerful man,” the affidavit said.
The bruise on Lopez’s upper arm was “pretty big” and appeared to be a hand mark or finger marks, the neighbor told police. She said Lopez had described the New Year’s Eve incident as Mirkarimi “going ballistic.”
That second neighbor said that back at the home, Lopez had locked Mirkarimi outside at one point and said she was going to call police, according to the affidavit. At some point, Mirkarimi grabbed her arm causing the bruise, the neighbor said. She added that Lopez had told her “she was hoping the witness would hear her” that day.
Lopez told the neighbor that her son had seen what happened and told his mother, “Daddy made boo-boo on mommy’s arm.”
Waggener said Tuesday that the affidavit had been “wrongly disclosed” by the court. He declined to immediately comment on the specific allegations other than to say that in the March 2011 incident, “there wasn’t any physical violence, it was an argument.”