SF sheriff voted out after killing of Cal Poly grad
November 4, 2015
Four months following the murder of Cal Poly grad Kathryn Steinle, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi lost his bid for reelection in a landslide. [SF Gate]
With all precincts reporting and most votes counted, former chief deputy sheriff Vicki Hennessy had tallied 61 percent of the vote. Mirkarimi received 33 percent, and a third candidate garnered 6 percent of the vote.
Mirkarimi became the city’s third incumbent sheriff to fail in a reelection bid in the last 60 years. His reelection campaign was tainted by several scandals, including the Steinle killing.
On July 1, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time felon who had been deported to Mexico five times, shot and killed Steinle as she was walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Earlier in the year, the city sheriff’s department let Lopez-Sanchez out of jail despite receiving a detainer request from ICE.
San Francisco is a sanctuary city with a policy of not turning over inmates to ICE unless federal immigration officials have a warrant.
In March, Mirkarimi allegedly issued an order barring San Francisco jail workers from cooperating with immigration officials on detainer requests. Steinle’s parents are suing Mirkarimi, alleging the order contributed to the death of their daughter.
During the San Francisco sheriff’s race, the city’s policies toward illegal immigrants became a focal point of the campaign.
Hennessy won the endorsement of the county jail officers union, as well as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and most politicians at City Hall. Hennessy raised significantly more money than Mirkarimi.
Mirkarimi, 54, became sheriff in 2012 after serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for eight years. Early in his term as sheriff, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge, and Lee tried to remove him from office.
The conviction stemmed from a New Year’s Eve incident in 2011, in which Mirkarimi bruised his wife’s arm during an argument.
In recent months, Mirkarimi flunked a marksmanship test and had his driver’s license suspended for failing to report a minor car accident that involved a city vehicle. The failed marksmanship test prevents him from carrying a service weapon.
Mirkarimi’s political accomplishments include launching the Green Party in California and introducing the nation’s first plastic bag ban ordinance. Hennessy, 61, is a 32-year veteran of the sheriff’s department.