Controversy follows San Fran sheriff's arrest

The new sheriff of San Francisco is accused of assaulting his wife, and some critics think the investigation into the incident hasn't gotten enough attention because his position in law enforcement.

Ross Mirkarimi was sworn in on Jan. 8. Now, he's facing charges of domestic violence battery against his wife, Eliana Lopez, who was once a soap opera star in her native Venezuela.

He denies the charges. She also said she has no "complaints against my husband."

The sheriff allegedly grabbed his wife so violently at their home on New Year's Eve that he bruised her upper-arm. She showed the bruise to a neighbor, who took video of it and reported the incident to the police.

But the investigation intensified only after the incident was leaked to a newspaper columnist.

Sheriff Mirkarimi has been quoted as saying this is a private, family matter - an attitude that has infuriated advocates for victims of domestic violence.

"I believe he should step aside right now, until the investigation is completed," says Sharon Johnson, a former director of the Commission on Status of Women.

"The idea of the county's chief law enforcement official being able to explain away, or dismiss away, allegations against himself, by simply saying that it's a private matter, calls into question the entire integrity of the judicial and investigatory system," CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland said.

Watch John Blackstone's full report above.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.