SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors plan to charge San Francisco's newly sworn-in sheriff with three misdemeanors, including domestic violence, related to a New Year's Eve incident with his wife, a law enforcement source close to the investigation said Friday.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will face one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, said the source, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity. The source did not say when the charges would be filed.
A neighbor reported that Mirkarimi grabbed and bruised Eliana Lopez's arm during a heated argument at their home, a police affidavit states.
Mirkarimi has denied the allegations. Lopez, a former Venezuelan telenovela star, has defended her husband, saying the episode was "completely taken out of context."
The couple was married after having their first child in 2009.
Mirkarimi's lawyer, Robert Waggener, and spokesman Jim Stearns did not immediately respond to a call for comment on Friday.
Days after the alleged dispute, Mirkarimi was sworn in as San Francisco sheriff, appearing at the ceremony with his wife and son. Asked about the incident, he called it "a private matter, a family matter."
The sheriff in San Francisco does not have broad law enforcement powers such as sheriffs in other jurisdictions. The position mostly entails running the jail system and providing law enforcement at public buildings such as courthouses and City Hall. Mirkarimi was elected in November after serving seven years as one of the city's more liberal supervisors.
If convicted of the charges, Mirkarimi would have to give up his department-issued firearm and possibly be subjected to searches as conditions of probation.