New written testimony from Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s neighbor contains vivid details of the domestic violence incident that led to Mirkarimi’s suspension by Mayor Ed Lee and starkly contradicts his public explanation of what happened.
In a 22-page declaration filed late Friday in advance of hearings this week before The City’s Ethics Commission, Ivory Madison said Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, described possibly 20 to 30 minutes of verbal and physical abuse on Dec. 31 inside the couple’s home, and in front of the couple’s crying young son, after an argument in the car.
“During that time she said that Ross repeatedly grabbed, pulled and pushed her violently,” Madison wrote. “Specifically, she said he slammed her against a wall while grabbing her arm and refused to let go.” The account was from a Jan. 1 meeting between the two women in Madison’s home, during which Lopez showed a bruise on her arm that Madison documented on video before later contacting police.
By contrast, Mirkarimi’s three-page June 13 declaration contained almost no information about the incident.
“I had an argument with my wife,” Mirkarimi wrote. “At the end of the argument, I grabbed her arm.”
In media interviews, Mirkarimi has said the bruise was the result of him trying to “guide” Lopez back into their car after an argument over her intention to take their son for an extended trip to her native Venezuela.
Attorneys for Mirkarimi and Lopez did not respond Sunday to calls for comment about the declarations, which are signed under penalty of perjury.
Lopez, who has publicly denied there was any abuse and remains in Venezuela with her family, has not yet submitted a declaration. Mirkarimi’s attorneys have said they hope to have her testify live or via Internet video.
Madison’s account details the couple’s ongoing marital problems, which she says Lopez had confided to her as part of their friendship, and not — as Lopez later argued — because she was seeking legal advice from Madison, a trained but nonpracticing lawyer. Madison also contributed to Mirkarimi’s campaign for sheriff.
Madison also disputed Mirkarimi’s characterization of a statement Lopez made to her that Mirkarimi had threatened to take her son from her because he was “a powerful man.”
Mirkarimi has said that he had actually been referring to California’s “powerful” child custody laws.
Lopez “never said that he said anything resembling that,” Madison wrote.
The commission — which has agreed to allow some hearsay evidence — will hear opening arguments from attorneys and may begin witness testimony Tuesday as it prepares to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors as to whether Mirkarimi should be permanently removed from the office he was elected to last November.