Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was Victim of Coup: Wife

In an op-ed, Eliana Lopez characterized the dispute between the couple as a "very emotional misunderstanding" about possible custody issues.

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    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was suspended from his job after an incident in which he allegedly bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez (pictured here), during an argument in which his 2-year-old son Theo was present.

    The domestic violence case against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was akin to a coup and was intended to bring him down, his wife said in an op-ed published Friday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Eliana Lopez, a Venezuelan actress and Mirkarimi's wife, said her 20 years in that country have taught her much about politics.

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    The sheriff wiped away tears as he faced reporters after being sentenced in a domestic violence case. (Published Monday, March 19, 2012)

    "I know how the media can create and influence public opinion to justify political actions...," she wrote. "I am shocked to witness the same formula being applied to my husband. In Spanish it is Golpe de Estado (coup d'etat), and that is what is happening to Ross."

    Mirkarimi was charged with domestic violence, child endangerment and dissuading a witness after a New Year's Eve dispute with Lopez that allegedly left Lopez with a bruised arm.

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    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said today he will not resign from his post despite facing possible suspension by Mayor Ed Lee following Mirkarimi's conviction in a domestic violence case involving his wife. (Published Tuesday, March 20, 2012)

    Those charges were dropped in exchange for Mirkarimi's guilty plea last month to misdemeanor false imprisonment. He was subsequently suspended from his job and is now facing misconduct charges.

    In her op-ed, Lopez characterized the dispute between the couple that led to the charges as a "very emotional misunderstanding" about possible custody issues that came up while the couple was struggling with its relationship. Mirkarimi and Lopez have a young son.

    She said she has never feared for her safety or the safety of her son in Mirkarimi's presence.

    "What I do fear is the mischaracterization of the events as a basis to remove my husband from elected office," she wrote.

    A neighbor, Ivory Madison, took a video of a tearful Lopez describing the alleged New Year's Eve incident and displaying the bruise on her arm. It would turn out to be key evidence in the case against her husband.

    Lopez said Madison had promised to keep the video secret and to use it only in the event of a custody dispute. Madison betrayed that promise when she contacted police, Lopez said.

    Madison's husband, Abraham Mertens, has said Lopez pressured him to destroy evidence, an allegation Lopez called "false."

    She said she loves her husband and is committed to him and their marriage.

    "Ross has paid an unfair price for his side of our family disputes," she wrote. "I have paid a terrible price, too. So has our son, Theo."