Eliana Lopez, the wife of suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, has written an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle describing her side of the domestic violence incident for which her husband was convicted of a misdemeanor and at least temporarily removed from office. Lopez and Mirkarimi have been prohibited from personal contact by a court order, and Mirkarimi has been disallowed from seeing his two-year-old son except under supervised circumstances.
The case came to light when Lopez's neighbor, Ivory Madison, gave police video she had taken of Lopez, made with her permission, displaying a bruise on Lopez's arm, which was reportedly caused by Mirkarimi during an argument and struggle. Lopez later disavowed the video and claimed in court she agreed to have it made under the incorrect assumption that Madison was a lawyer, making their communications confidential.
Some extracts from Lopez's piece today:
My husband and I had a very emotional misunderstanding about potential custody issues at a time when our relationship was struggling. I have never been afraid for my safety in the presence of my husband, or for the safety of my son. What I do fear is the mischaracterization of the events as a basis to remove my husband from elected office...
What has happened to my family is wrong. What has occurred has hurt not just me and Ross and our son, Theo, but also society in general. Just as domestic violence is to be condemned, so too is twisting an emotionally charged argument into the basis for removing an elected official from office without a hearing and without pay...
I sought legal advice from Ivory Madison about custody issues. I did not seek her help "as a friend." Ivory Madison promised me that our conversation was confidential and that the video that she advised me to make would be secret, to be used only in the event of a custody dispute...
Finally, my dear Ross, they do not let us talk but you can read here from me that I love you. You won the election because the people know your hard work; nobody can erase that. Be strong, my dear, knowing that my heart is next to you and you are Theo's everything. I am committed to you, our marriage and our fight for justice and democracy. Full op-ed
Lopez also disputes the allegations made in a Mar 20 Chronicle op-ed piece by Ivory Madison's husband, Abraham Mertens, who claimed that Lopez pressured him "to destroy evidence and lie to the police."
As part of Mirkarimi's plea deal with the District Attorney's Office, he had to publicly apologize to Madison, whose motivations for reporting the incident were questioned by Lopez and some other Mirkarimi supporters.
Update 11:25 a.m. Mirkarimi was briefly in court today in an appearance related to terms of his sentence. Outside the courtroom, the Chron reports, he said, "I view the op-ed, quite frankly, as a love letter."