Hearing Ross Mirkarimi

Why are they out to destroy San Francisco's Iranian-American sheriff?


Hearing Ross Mirkarimi
by bahmani

As many of you know the Ross Mirkarimi case in San Francisco is of great importance to the Iranian-American community in the Bay Area. There are several issues pertaining to this case that are of great concern and we should be aware of the implications and potential risks to our civil rights as well as how this kind of process works.

On and off I have been in touch with Ross as well as his supporters and promised him and them that when they were ready to talk, I would get the pertinent information out to the Iranian-American community via this site specifically, so that you all could be kept up to date on the information on the case, and why it is so important to us, as it proceeds.

Much of what you read next is in Ross' own words. Here is the information as presented to me by Friends of Ross. To learn more or help Ross any way you want, please visit: www.friendsofross.com

Never in the history of San Francisco has there ever been a well funded, daily, weekly, and monthly orchestrated prosecution of any elected official until now -- Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. There is an elaborate campaign to oust Ross Mirkarimi - one of the highest elected officials of Iranian descent in the nation.

The November 2011 election witnessed three major races: Mayor Ed Lee, District Attorney George Gascon, and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Ross wasn't suppose to win in the minds of a powerful enclave that outspent him two-to-one, fielding a well known downtown, police-backed candidate. Even Ross's closest allies were surprised that he won with such a high majority of the 11 supervisorial districts. This was the first time a citywide progressive candidate won executive office since the election of Mayor Art Agnos in 1987.

This did not go unnoticed by the San Francisco Chronicle, who didn't support Ross's candidacy, but who showed their post election cards in a beaming editorial congratulating the Mayor and District Attorney, but failed to recognize the newly elected Sheriff - whom incidentally, received more votes than Mayor Ed Lee. A very unexpected political stage was set. But that imploded quickly.

As Ross was preparing for his transition from serving seven years as the popular District 5 Supervisor to his January 8th inaugural as the 35th Sheriff, assuming a staff of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately, $170 million, the exuberant climate changed.

On December 31, 2011, Ross, his wife, Eliana Lopez, and son, went out for lunch. In the car ride, a disagreement with his wife reoccurred regarding the length of her impending trip to her home-country of Venezuela. Six months earlier, she took another trip with their son that lasted over two months. Ross missed them terribly and didn't want to be separated for another long period of time.

They quarreled in the car. At the height of it, Ross decided that there was no point in going for pizza, and turned the car around against Eliana's wishes. After he parked the car near home, in a reactive attempt to de-escalate the intensity of the argument, Ross grabbed Eliana's right arm causing a bruise. This inflamed matters even more. The next day Eliana confided in their next door neighbor, Ivory Madison, whom she believed was an attorney. She and the neighbor made a 50 second video tape describing the argument. As legal records and press accounts indicate, Eliana explicitly told the neighbor to hold the tape in case of any potential custody issues. The neighbor had other plans.

Over the next several days, Madison didn't call law enforcement or domestic violence counselors but instead contacted people like their good friend, Phil Bronstein, Executive Editor of the SF Chronicle. On January 4, without Eliana's consent and in betrayal of her wishes, Madison calls the police and hands over the tape and other records. Until Eliana informed Ross of what was happening, he remained unaware until late that day. The Chronicle breaks the story two days later.

Ross is inaugurated at the Herbst Theater in front of nearly a 1000 supporters including many Iranian-Americans. He becomes Sheriff. Five days later on Friday, January 13, he's charged by the police for three misdemeanors. This automatically triggered a stay away order from his wife and son. A runaway legal and public relations train disaster and ensnarled the new sheriff and his family. Rod Serling of the Twighlight Zone, couldn't make this stuff up. Maybe Franz Kafka, though.

Everyday for weeks, this story and the social disgrace of Ross and his family was played out in the press. Ross was looking forward to the trial. So was his wife. But his jury consultant made it clear that after interviewing over 200 prospective jurors, the jury panel was heavily polluted. The judge wasn't going to grant a venue change. After rejecting an earlier offer from the District Attorney, Ross agreed to take a plea for one misdemeanor count of "False Imprisonment" -- To paraphrase his attorney, it's for unilaterally turning the car around as they were heading to lunch.

As husband and father, Ross thought he was doing the right thing by taking responsibility and trying to get this matter behind them. As Sheriff, Ross agreed to a plea that didn't interfere with his authority as Sheriff or with his ability to carry a weapon. While Ross was trying to move forward, it was clear with those forces that didn't want Ross in office, that they thought he would've resigned by now. They were wrong but intensified their attacks.

On March 20, Ed Lee gave Ross an ultimatum to either resign or face suspension without pay. Ross didn't resign. As Ross told me in an April interview, "whether it means depriving me of an income so I cannot provide for my wife and son, ruining my reputation, or undermining the voter's will by selectively removing a democratically elected official, they'll resort to anything to make life so unbearable that my choices culminate to a simple few -- walk away or face being destroyed or fight".

The date of Ross's suspension shouldn't go unnoticed. This was the first year there wasn't a Norooz celebration at San Francisco's City Hall since Ross took office as the first Supervisor of Iranian heritage (father) in 2005. Ross hosted public Norooz celebration every year since until now. These became the largest Norooz celebrations in the nation. But ever proud of his Iranian heritage, Ross did more.

Instead of the perfunctory Norooz proclamations that non-Iranian politicians serve us every year, Ross went deeper. He authored legislation that spoke out against the human rights abuses in Iran especially against women or minorities. He personally intervened and demanded the release of Sharif University (SUTA) alumni who were traveling to Stanford when they were denied entry or detained by the TSA at San Francisco Airport; he hosted well attended exhibits at city hall that featured the works of Iranian artists; and in 2009, in solidarity with the Green movement protests in Iran due to the betrayal of the Iranian people, Ross helped galvanize an energy that hadn't been seen in decades -- the rally in front of City Hall on July 25th. Nearly 10,000 people attended to protest the undemocratic and abusive election process in the Islamic Republic.

As an office holder, Ross established internship opportunities for many young Iranian-Americans who want to pursue public service. Wherever Ross went, so did our community. Featured in People Magazine and newspapers and magazines around the nation and abroad, Ross was renown for his prolific and innovative policy-making. There was no doubt that with his citywide election as Sheriff, Ross was poised to go anywhere. Many of us thought Ross would run for mayor but it wasn't his time. Besides, he was always passionate about reforming the criminal justice system.

As Supervisor and Sheriff, Ross led the effort to prepare San Francisco for Governor Jerry Brown's State Prisoner Realignment Plan. He legislated how the SF Probation and Sheriff Departments would take lead in reforming rehabilitation efforts which meant radical overhaul in tackling high recidivism rates. We highly doubt that any Sheriff in the United States ever gave a speech like Ross did at his inaugural - challenging status quo to ponder "how does a city like San Francisco ignore the nexus that its jail population is nearly 60 percent Black but yet, it's the city with the fastest exodus of its African American population in the country". The high command at the Police department and conservative institutions couldn't believe their ears.

Never in the history of San Francisco has so much money been spent on persecuting one person for a violation that many would contrast as unfair compared to the more egregious acts of Mayor Gavin Newsom's sex scandal or the SF Fire Chief's bludgeoning of her husband or Mayor Ed Lee's improper "Run Ed Run" campaign committee; something is amiss here and we cannot stand quiet without asking the obvious -- why is Ross Mirkarimi receiving this level of treatment unlike anyone else and why is my vote being undermined by this undemocratic process?

Like many of you, we have been proud supporters of Ross (Rostam) Mirkarimi. Naturally, we have questions regarding the facts that implicate Ross. But whatever one believes, one thing is clear, a member of our community is under a very high profile attack, prompting reason to assess motive as to why they are working so hard to destroy Ross...

There will be several hearings but the first major tribunal installment is on May 29th at SF City Hall, Room 400 at 5:30. Ultimately, the fate of Sheriff Mirkarimi will be up to a five member politically appointed body of the City's Ethics Commission. Once they render a decision, then it's up to the Board of Supervisors which require 9 out of 11 votes to terminate Ross.

To learn more or help Ross any way you want, please visit: www.friendsofross.com


more from bahmani
Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Another fact

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

Banafsheh says:

Anyone would have been "ran out of town," just as he has been.

False. Have you read the case of Judge McBride?  Read:


He slammed his wife's hand into a door in an argument and got just "counseling". Same city man violence this time 100% proven against his wife. Why the double standard? Maybe times change but fact don't and facts are that Banafsheh is wrong.

There is more like that of the fire chief but I am not here to be a history book. Just to show when people don't know what they are talking about. Is it too much to ask people to get the facts before giving self righteous monologues.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

There are facts and there are points of view. Facts include: none of us saw what happened. I am talking about facts not points of view. Did you see what happened? If anyone did then they should have stepped up and testified. It is wrong to act like we know something when I we are doing is guessing. The world has suffered enough from pompus people who claim to know more than they do.



by Faramarz on

Have you ever considered that somebody might have a different opinion than yours but not be evil or misguided?

You have formed your opinion on this issue and I have formed mine, but does that make you right and me wrong or evil?

We are just disagreeing on a controversial issue. Is that acceptable in your world?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

All who condemn this man

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


None of you saw what happened. You are all guessing based on words of his political opponents. Shame on you man or woman. Keep your bull and judgments to yourselves. Nobody is asking you to "forgive" anyone. It is none of your business if he wants to fight back. If you oppose him and live in San Fransisco then vote against him. That is the sum total of your rights. The rest is out of your hands. 

Some people have a habit of sticking their nose in everything. A while ago some actress showed her body. From all corners "Iranians" crawled out to "not forgive" her. We saw how much impact your opinion had. Here it will be about the same. He wants to fight for his right; go for it.

I agree with Kaveh, I don't agree with Mirkarimi's politics but I support his rights. You people are ready to ditch anyone based on an accusation. Glad you aren't my friends because nobody needs fair weather friends like you.

Banafsheh Zolfaghari

Stop the spin, stop the conspiracy theories, take responsibility

by Banafsheh Zolfaghari on

Sad truth is that Sherriff Mirkarami, a public servant, can not expect to be held any less accountable for his admitted action than the next politician. Anyone would have been "ran out of town," just as he has been.

Regretfully Rostam Khan is solely responsible for the damage
brought onto his name and once promising career, irrespective of the disproportionality of the penalty our community may regard his down-fall.

At the end of the day though, as a Persian woman, I can not accept, nor forgive the truth: A man, a law enforcer at that, allowing himself to get so worked up to "grab" the arm of his child's mother hard enough to "bruise" it . . .  (At least according to the spin offered to us, as conveyed by Mr. Bahamani.

Quite very sad, all around!

Kaveh Nouraee

On the contrary

by Kaveh Nouraee on

Sheriff Mirkarimi MUST fight back. Although it sounds very much like a cliche, you don't fight only the fights you can win, but you must fight the fights worth winning.

Personally, I disagree with the man's politics. But what happened or what didn't happen in that car that day is none of our godamn business.

Mohammad Ala

There is a time to dual and there is a time to walk away

by Mohammad Ala on

RM should start his life anew and demonstrate that he is capable person.

Esfand Aashena

Ethics Commission rules favor Mayor over Mirkarimi

by Esfand Aashena on



by yolanda on

Ross' marriage is pretty much over!


When asked about that in Noyes' interview, Lopez said, "Maybe I will get divorced with Ross, but I'm very close with him in this fight; this is about justice."


If they get divorced, there will be a messy international custody fight!

This is a sad story from every angle! At this point, Ross is jobless, possibly wifeless and sonless also! His life savings has to go to his lawyers!


At the end of the day...

by Zia111 on

An Iranian who makes it in 'their' system playing by 'their' rules will be torn down no matter who they are because he is not one of them. Anglos on whatever side of the pond ultimately only believe Anglos are real human beings. Everyone else is there to serve them and be a second class citizen, even if someone supposedly shares their values.  The same would happen to any of us in the same situation. Bottom line, they hate us, they don't like  us and we will never be seen in their eyes as equal to them. This is what people need to take away from this story. Now, all you Eye-ranians in the USA and the UK, keep beating your chests for these assholes and their so-called LOL democracy and so-called system of fair play and justic which is a complete joke.

Listen to the racism of this Raoul. This is what 'they' all feel and believe about all of us.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


My response is for anyone with an open mind.

This case was tried in the media starting with the Chronicle. Then the DA threw all he had at him. They ignored his wife by claiming she is unreliable because as judge Breall said she is "a foreigner" and "does not speak English well". Then brought in "evidence" which normally is not allowed.

On top of that the Kathy Black and Casa de las Madres deliberately put up a distortion of his statement on huge billboards before the trial to taint the jury pool. I gather Wong was not going to allow a change of venue so Mirkarimi took the advise of his lawyers.

Any kind of fair minded person watching this will know it is political. If you don't believe me go read the comment on SFGate. Plus now judge Wong does not let him Skype his wife even though she is in Venezuela! How is this protecting Lopez? I think the powerful are afraid of something Mirkarimi knows or might do. They want to destroy him to protect themselves. But by their relentless and increasingly vindictive attacks they are showing their hands.

Now with free top notch attorneys he will be able to hold on. Mirkarimi has nothing more to lose. That is when people decide they might as well persevere. 

BTW: I know some Iranians feel as immigrants we are not to criticize America. I believe it is the duty of us to point out injustice and I will do it. Not because Rostam is of Iranian background but because he is being wronged. 


Distortions and Confusion!

by Faramarz on



The main point of this blog was about how Rostam Khan was being unfairly treated, and not what a wonderful Iranian-American he is, which I believe he is. I took your comments as relevant to the topic and not about his other contributions.


In every legal case, the judge and the jury and the public at large make up their minds about the guilt or the innocence at some point. I made up mine when he honestly raised his right hand in front of the judge, pleaded guilty and went on TV accepting his fate. That takes courage.

I hope that more people step forward and be forthright about their life challenges and then try to do something about it. Denial is a normal human trait but it doesn't get you anywhere.


Anahid Hojjati

Faramarz you distorted what I said

by Anahid Hojjati on

I noted that he has done much for Iranian American community and because of that we should use our brain and wonder why he has been persecuted at this level why others have not? I don't believe his treatment has to do anything wih him being Iranian American. By the way, is it too much to expect you not to distort what others write?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Faramarz you are confusing things

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


There is real victimization and imagined. This one is real and I am not going to argue it with you because you already made your mind. But I am stating my opinion for those who are interested in hearing it.

The "we are all victims" statement is childish and over simple. Nothing is that general because some people get victimized. Just like some women are abused and some make false claims. Some people get persecuted and some make false claims. 

One with an open mind examines the evidence and makes a decision. Others like many on IC have "knee jerk" reaction. That is why I have been generally avoiding IC. Because I got sick of automaton and 100% predictable responses


We Iranians Are all Victims!

by Faramarz on



As Khomeini said so eloquently, America has victimized us for more than 2500 years!

So here in the most tolerant city, in the most immigrant-friendly country in the world where the son of a Nigerian alcoholic is the president, the Chinese-American mayor is after the Jewish-Iranian-American Sherriff of Redneck Riviera because he doesn’t like the way Iranians do their rice!

And according to Bahmani, when the guy cries on TV and admits guilt, he doesn’t really mean it. He is doing what his lawyer told him to do. In other words he is lying.

And according to Anahid, he is been an advocate of Iranian causes so he should get way. Try that line of logic next time CHP pulls you over on 101 for speeding and tell them to let you go because you oppose the Regime in Iran. And VPK’s logic is that since he was elected by the voters, everything goes. Have you heard of a thing called “Watergate?”

A public figure’s words and actions matter. He messed this thing up big time, not by what he did or didn’t do to his wife in front of his child, but by his actions afterwards.

Anahid Hojjati

VPK, by no means I am approving

by Anahid Hojjati on

what his subordinates may want. I am just trying to see why all this level of persecution happened. I also want to make a note that the July 2009 demonstration that Bahmani mentioned was really an inspiring event. And as Bahmani noted, Ross Mirkarimi has been supportive of Iranian American community. I remember an event in fall of 2009 that many of us in San Francisco Bay area participated in it by reading poems and stories and Ross was there too to support 2009 movement in Iran. I have been in several other community events where Mirkarimi was there. So I agree with Bahmani and others who want us to take a second look at events and try to see the events in another light. In recent months wife of a high level California state official who was also an official herself was involved in scandal but we read much less about those events.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Good job Bahmani

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

Thank you for bringing this important issue out. This is obviously an inquisition out to get him. With the wife and son being collateral damage. No matter what any of you including Faramarz; Mehrdad or Zed think: he was elected by voters and this is an underhanded way to disinfranchise the voters. 
  • Faramarz & Mehrdad: this is not about what you want it is the voters and the fate of a family. You may think that he has a bad temper. I could say this about lots of others. That is not a reason to either reverse votes or force a family apart. 
  • Mehrdad A: The last thing Iranian community needs is people who abandon each other at the first sign of trouble. In 1979 we abandoned the moderate Bakhtiyar regime and got IRI. Now you want to abandon Mirkarimi despite all he did for us. 
    Shame on you. 
  • Zed: you are totally out of line. Israel has nothing to do with this. Besides if it was then according to Israel haters he should be "a protected" class not among the peersecuted!
  • Anahid: you may be right but again this is not about what his subordinates want. Voters picked him and if the police don't like it they should get another job. 
  • Bahmani: I have disagreed with you often. But this time you are spot on.
  • MM: As usual you bring sanity here and I again thank you.
  • Raoul: get yourself educated before you jump in a discuttion you know nothing about.


Reply to Zed: Keep it sane please

by bahmani on

Obviously you are passionate about Israel. This topic has nothing to do with that. If you would like to write a piece about Israel, I would love to read your analysis.

Bu this is about a San francisco politician and a series of events surrounding him, regarding a family crisis spilling over into his political career.

This is the topic. Please don't insert unrelated comments into article that have nothing to do with your own interests and passion. There are several reasons for this. The unrelated insertion damages your reputation and suggests you are a bit off and unsettled. Alos it takes away fro your own greater message regarding Israel.

Additionally starting discourse on a topic by calling the subject (Israel) names, inserts a bias. What you should intend to do is provide the unbiased information that makes your case. So you should consider writing an article: "Why I think Israel is an Apartheid state made up of Rapists". then make your case objectively with facts and backup data and information. I promise you that I would read that.

But inserting a random comment off topic onto articles that have nothing to do with your position does not serve you well, and is not appreciated.

Thanks, I look forward to your article on Israel.

To read more bahmani posts visit: //brucebahmani.blogspot.com/


Reply to Raoul: Good example of what you see vs what I see

by bahmani on

This is precisely the problem that I am trying to convey. What you see is a guilty apology and confession.

What I see is a man in a corner forced to read what his lawyers told him to read.

You see a man in tears, and associate that with his apology speech.

I see a man in tears over how this happened, and why he is in this situation, and why he cannot tell his side of the story because his lawyers advise against it.

Do some more digging, you do not have all the facts. All the facts will still leave you uncertain, then you can decide where you stand based on the additional info. You should not make that decision where you are now though.

To read more bahmani posts visit: //brucebahmani.blogspot.com/

Anahid Hojjati

It is

by Anahid Hojjati on

it is naive to think that he was ousted for what went one between him and his wife. Probably the ones he was going to be in charge (sheriffs) did not want him and the other people he had to work with did not like him either. But reason for not liking might have had nothing to do with his heritage, it might very well be his style of work. If he is not a flexible person in his dealing with others, that might be the reason for most of his problems.


Which well funded group is behInd ousting Ross?

by MM on

Was exposing the tape against attorney/client privileges and admissible or not admissible on a court of law?


Mirkarimi identified more with Israel than Iran

by Zed on

Good ol' Zed has done more to expose Apartheid Rapist Israel's pattern of bad behavior towards Iranians in 24 hours than Mirkarimi did in his whole life. 

I'm sure they'll give Ross a job in Tel Aviv being a "sheriff" oppressing and arresting Palestinian 6 year olds.  


Mehrdad A

Nobody Is Out There

by Mehrdad A on

The last thing that the Iranian community needs is an angry, out-of control husband in charge of an important function charged with domestic violence. Here they call it wife battery, and we don't need that. There are many qualified Iranians deservedly serving their communities with no name and fame.

When we condone acts of violence including physical assault for the sake of national pride, we foster nepotism, and we don't need that either. Nobody is out there to get us but ourselves. Faramarz's link is very revealing. This man should be out.


"Arrogance and Anger Issues"

by Faramarz on


Setting aside all the great things that Ross Mirkarimi has done for the Bay Area Iranian-Americans, how do you square what you wrote here with his honest and tearful acknowledgement accepting his guilt and promising to work on his shortcomings?






Reply to Raoul: It is hard to defend

by bahmani on

I can see your simplified reasoning for being skeptical. This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't moments. There is no way I can prove to you the altercation leading to "the bruise" was a bad moment in a marriage. There is no way.

All I can say is that as difficult as it is for you to consider he is innocent, it is 10 times worse for me to read you write "I am glad he didn't punch her in her face...".

Please be clear though, the crime is not abuse, or the bruise. The crime is false imprisonment. Specifically and exactly for turning the car around from going to pizza. That is the only thing he plead guilty to. There was no arrest for the bruise. The Cops and Court did not press charges on the bruise.

But from this side of an unprovable situation, what you suggested is impossible. More impossible, is that there is no way I can convince you. Even with NO previous history of it.

That is my point. Contrary to what we may believe about redemption, fairness, and truth, there are some events and moments that destroy that.

We all need to be careful, this could happen to anyone. The lesson is NEVER admit guilt if you are innocent. Even if you have to go to prison, and especially if your lawyer tells you to.

To read more bahmani posts visit: //brucebahmani.blogspot.com/



by Raoul1955 on

The blog covers all sorts of social issues in San Francisco, and I as a reader fail to see what all the referenced social issues over there have to do with a guy who was abusive toward his wife!
Perhaps a conspiracy by the MI6 or the CIA?  :-)

1) "After he parked the car near home, in a reactive attempt to de-escalate the intensity of the argument, Ross grabbed Eliana's right arm causing a bruise."  I am glad he didn't punch her in her face as a more 'effective' means of 'de-escalating' that situation!!!

2) "He authored legislation that spoke out against the human rights abuses in Iran especially against women or minorities." What does the situation in Iran have to do with an elected person in San Francisco?

3) Has this guy every referred to himself as a hyphenated American?

The most effective way to kill this guy's political future, other than his violent temper, would be for the Iranian-Americans to embrace him...