A theory is developing as to why it is that San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's wife was willing to allow "Ivory Madison" to videotape a bruise on her arm, allegedly caused by the sheriff, but then refuse to press charges against him. She may have been trying to create a get-out-of-jail card in the event of a custody battle over their son.
Ever since domestic abuse allegations were raised against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, one mystery has been why his wife would let a neighbor videotape her damaging story and proceed to deny in public that anything was wrong.
The police affidavit in support of Mirkarimi's arrest warrant that came out Tuesday provides an apparent answer - Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, wanted the videotape as leverage in case he tried to gain custody of their young son.
Lopez allowed her neighbor, Ivory Madison, to videotape a bruise Jan. 1 that Mirkarimi allegedly inflicted on her the day before. She told Madison that Mirkarimi had acted violently toward her once before and that "I (have) been telling him we need help," the arrest warrant affidavit says.
Lopez told Madison she needed the video "just in case" Mirkarimi tried to win custody of their 2-year-old son, the affidavit says. Mirkarimi "is very powerful and he can do it," the affidavit quotes Lopez as saying.
Madison, of course, screwed up this brilliant plan by taking the tape to the police, and the investigation left the station without Ms. Lopez. If it makes her feel better, Lopez does have (temporary) custody of the Mirkarimi child; the DA obtained a restraining order against the sheriff which effectively separates him from his family. Nice, under the circumstances.
Deborah Sanders also reminds us of another high-profile San Francisco public safety officer who was involved in a DV mess a few years ago:
As a point of interest, a San Francisco department head has survived a similar episode. In 2005, the husband of S.F. Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White called 911 and accused his wife of hitting him on the head twice with a pint glass. He told dispatchers he wanted to file charges. According to the Chronicle story, the husband feared for his children’s safety.
A second dispatcher came on the line, and said: “Sir, you’re saying that your wife is Joanne Hayes-White, the fire chief?”
“The fire chief,” White replied. “She just hit me in the head with a pint glass, twice.”
He then said he wanted her out of the house. Asked whether anyone else was in the home, White said: “My three children are, yes, that’s why I’m afraid of it.”
Later, the Chronicle reported, the husband recanted as:
Hayes-White told police that her husband had hit himself over the head with the glass, investigators said.
District Attorney Kamala Harris chose not to file charges.
"Hit himself over the head with the glass??" Presumably after walking into a door? I guess the attitude back then was, hey, Irish lady fire chiefs, whaddayagonnado?