As suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s official misconduct proceedings lumber on, the City Attorney’s Office has released an emotional video in which his wife, Eliana Lopez, displays a large bruise on her arm and explains to a neighbor that she has recently been abused by her husband.
Mirkarimi is in the midst of a “fact-finding” series of public hearings by The City’s Ethics Commission after being suspended without pay in March by Mayor Ed Lee. In the days before the suspension, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment to avoid three other domestic violence charges stemming from a dispute at the couple’s San Francisco home on New Year’s Eve.
The 45-second video — made one day after the abuse occurred — shows Lopez saying that the incident was “the second time this is happening,” and that she wanted to make the video for leverage in the event that Mirkarimi would try to use his “powerful” status in any future custody battle over the couple’s 3-year-old son, Theo.
Although still images and text excerpts from the video had already been made public, the actual footage of the teary Lopez could possibly further sway opinions.
Despite attempts by attorneys for both Mirkarimi and Lopez to keep the video from being released, the City Attorney’s Office was compelled to release it by public records requests from local media, plus a decision by the Ethics Commission to deny a protective order to keep it sealed. Earlier in May, a Superior Court judge denied a similar request to keep the video from being released.
The footage was met with sharp statements Thursday from both Mirkarimi and Lopez, who said she is displeased with the video becoming “viral.” Since the saga unfolded, Lopez has vociferously supported her husband and floated theories of a political conspiracy against him. Lopez contends that the matter was taken out of her hands by neighbor Ivory Madison, who notified police of the incident without her consent.
Lopez directed her complaints at the mayor, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District Attorney George Gascón.
“Because of their actions, the images on that video will exist forever for everyone to see — including my son, Theo, now and forever,” Lopez said in a statement.
Mirkarimi released a statement — circulated by a local public relations firm — saying that the video “violates my wife’s rights” and serves “no public good.”
“It is the politics of destruction at its worst, and those who advocated its release should be ashamed,” Mirkarimi said.