San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi pleaded not guilty today to three charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident involving his wife, Eliana Lopez, on New Year’s Eve. Mirkarimi, 50, appeared in court this afternoon on charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. Prosecutors said the child endangerment charge was filed because the couple’s 2-year-old son Theo was present during the Dec. 31 incident.
Lopez has denied any abuse occurred and is not cooperating with prosecutors. As of 3 p.m., Judge Susan Breall had not decided whether to issue a stay-away order that would extend a temporary order blocking Mirkarimi from returning to his Webster Street home. “My inclination is to issue the order,” Breall said. Mirkarimi’s attorney, Bob Waggener, and Lopez’s attorney, Cheryl Wallace, were meeting to discuss the issue.
Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 8 after serving for seven years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He has said he does not plan to resign. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a neighbor called police to report the alleged abuse after Lopez told her about it the next day. The neighbor took a video of Lopez crying and pointing to a bruise on her right bicep allegedly caused during an argument with Mirkarimi, according to the affidavit. In the video, Lopez alluded to past incidents between the couple and said she wanted to use the video “just in case he wants to take Theo away from me” because Mirkarimi allegedly told her he “is very powerful and can do it,” according to the affidavit. Mirkarimi, who was booked on the charges last Friday and is out of custody on $35,000 bail, could face a year in prison and three years’ probation if convicted of all charges.
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