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San Francisco mayor suspends Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, seeks ouster over domestic violence case

Mayor Ed Lee (left) during a news conference Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in San Francisco; Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi (right). AP Photo/Ben Margot

(CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO - The mayor of San Francisco says he's suspending Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and intends to permanently remove him from office following Mirkarimi's domestic violence conviction.

Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday that Mirkarimi rejected his suggestion to resign after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge involving his wife. Lee said he will file official misconduct charges Wednesday and the matter will be referred to the city's Ethics Commission.

"He has chosen not to resign, and now I must act," Lee said. "Sheriff Mirkarimi's actions and confession of guilt clearly fall below the below the standards of decency and good faith rightly required of all public officials."

To remove Mirkarimi as sheriff, the mayor will need the votes of at least nine of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors.

Earlier, a defiant Mirkarimi said he would fight to keep his job because he believes he has not committed any "official misconduct." The New Year's Eve dispute with his wife, Eliana Lopez, at their home in front of their toddler son left her with a bruise on her arm.

Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 8, just a week after the incident.

"I wanted to and have taken full responsibility," a sweat-drenched Mirkarimi told reporters outside his office in City Hall. "At this time, I do not plan to resign."

On Monday, a judge sentenced Mirkarimi to three years of probation and a year of counseling. Under the plea agreement, Mirkarimi must pay $590 in fines, serve probation, spend a year in a domestic violence intervention program, take parenting classes and do community service.

Mirkarimi said he hasn't spoken to his wife in nine weeks and is only allowed to visit his son for about two hours each day because of an order issued by a judge. A separate order also prohibits the sheriff from carrying a gun.

Complete coverage of Ross Mirkarimi on Crimesider

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