San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said today there are no imminent plans to suspend Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who will be arraigned Thursday on three misdemeanor charges in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident on New Year's Eve.
Mirkarimi was charged Friday with one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. His attorney Bob Waggener said today that Mirkarimi is scheduled to be in court on Thursday morning for arraignment on the charges.
The charges stem from an incident reported by a neighbor who claimed that Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, showed her a bruise on her arm where Mirkarimi had allegedly grabbed her, according to a search warrant affidavit.
During a search, police seized a video camera and iPhone used to exchange text messages about the injury.
Mirkarimi, who was booked into jail later Friday and released on $35,000 bail, said that day that he plans to fight the charges and will not resign as sheriff.
But under the City Charter, Lee has the option of suspending Mirkarimi, who would then be entitled to an Ethics Commission hearing on the cause of the suspension.
The Ethics Commission would then forward its findings and a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, who would need nine votes from the 11-member board to remove Mirkarimi from office.
Lee said following the filing of the charges Friday that they were "extremely serious and troubling" and that he would "review the facts and options available to me under the City Charter."
But today Lee, speaking to reporters following a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in the city's Yerba Buena Gardens, said he is not yet ready to make a decision to suspend him.
"We need to allow the case to go forward without interference, and Sheriff Mirkarimi has his opportunity to answer those charges," Lee said.
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, one of several supervisors who also attended the MLK Day event with the mayor, declined comment on the case.
Mirkarimi served as a supervisor for the past seven years before being elected as sheriff in November and being sworn in on Jan. 8.
He made a public appearance today at a separate MLK Day event in the city but also declined to speak about the case.
District Attorney George Gascon had said when announcing the charges on Friday that Mirkarimi would be arraigned on Tuesday. But Waggener said today that when Mirkarimi posted bail, the document he was given said to appear in court on Thursday morning.
"So that's when we'll show up," he said.
If convicted of all charges, Mirkarimi could face a year in prison and three years' probation.