Conspiracy theorists still pondering last week’s bizarre sequence of events during misconduct proceedings against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will probably end up disappointed. They could even find themselves lacking basic answers — the simple building blocks used to launch their complex hypotheses — because of the seemingly universal code of silence being imposed by San Francisco politicians and law enforcement.
On Monday, San Francisco police, the Department of Emergency Management and the Ethics Commission were all mum on the nature of a purported bomb threat that abruptly interrupted the testimony of Mayor Ed Lee about 1:30 p.m. Friday. The District Attorney’s Office and a San Francisco supervisor declined to respond to allegations from a pro-Mirkarimi city commissioner that Lee lied under oath during his much-anticipated testimony.
After an apparent threat against City Hall and the Golden Gate Bridge that was later discredited, the mayor was escorted out of the hearing room through a back door. But the nature of the interruption wasn’t revealed until the Ethics Commission hearing reconvened nearly two hours later.
The break in the action came just minutes after what Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker, a Mirkarimi supporter, described as perjury that Lee committed when he said he never spoke with any members of the Board of Supervisors before suspending the sheriff-in-limbo back in March.
But Walker said the mayor asked Supervisor Christina Olague, whom he tapped to fill Mirkarimi’s empty seat on the board. Olague ducked a media mob on Friday in City Hall and again declined to comment Monday about whether she discussed the matter with Lee.
Asked if she had ever talked with the mayor about the situation, Olague simply didn’t answer for 10 to 15 seconds.
Asked if her silence should be taken to mean she didn’t have the discussion, Olague quickly said “no.” Olague then said all supervisors were asked “a long time ago” by the City Attorney’s Office not to talk with reporters about the Mirkarimi matter, since the board must make the final decision about whether he is reinstated or permanently removed. Asked if the city attorney told supervisors not to discuss the matter with the mayor, Olague declined to comment.
San Francisco police declined to provide details of the bomb threat call because the department said the matter is under investigation.
Police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi also declined to provide the “computer-aided dispatch” number that’s assigned to each emergency call, and added that even if the call were identified as such, the Department of Emergency Management would be prohibited by police from releasing any details.
The District Attorney’s Office is currently not investigating whether the mayor committed perjury, which is a felony.
“Based on media stories, no,” said District Attorney spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman.
Asked what could prompt such an investigation, Ong Stillman declined to comment.
Ethics Commission Executive Director John St. Croix said he’s unaware of any perjury investigation, but even if there were one, he wouldn’t be able to comment on its existence.
“In that case, we would investigate what the actual truth was,” St. Croix said. “And then we would have to determine whether or not the perjurer knew the statement was false. This hasn’t happened before.”