Eliana Lopez

Former girlfriend defends Mirkarimi

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By Evelyn Nieves

For months, I’ve watched as Ross Mirkarimi has been slandered as a “wife beater”—by the mayor of San Francisco, no less—and vilified in the press based on lies, half-truths and innuendo.  It has been heart-breaking, nauseating, to witness.

I know for a fact that Ross is no abuser. He and I were a couple for eight years. For most of that time, we lived together. Not once did Ross even come close to making me feel unsafe in his presence. He never threatened me. He would walk away or cry “uncle” rather than argue. He simply had no stomach for it.Read more »

Guardian voices: Eliana on the Ross case

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Since this nightmare began nine months ago, my integrity, intelligence and independence have been attacked over and over again by individuals claiming to defend me. In every instance, I’ve been cast as an immigrant woman with limited English proficiency who is incapable of asserting her rights, understanding domestic violence, or speaking with her own voice. I’ve been characterized as ignorant, submissive, vulnerable -- but also hysterical, vindictive and manipulative. I’m either a “hot-blooded Latina” or a fool, duped by my husband.

The mayor and his allies -- each with their political or financial interest at stake -– have lined up to silence me or distort what really happened. They claim my voice doesn’t matter, that I can’t be trusted, but, have they ever, ever, bothered to talk to me directly? No.

They prefer an inflammatory vague 50-second video clip to the truth. In the midst of an argument on December 31, 2011, my husband grabbed my arm for a second and bruised me -- it was not intentional. I have never recanted this fact. He was wrong, and he apologized. That was the extent of it. I know this because I was there. It was my experience.  It happened to me. And it never happened before.

Read more »

Guardian editorial: The real Mirkarimi question

Do you believe Eliana, or not?

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EDITORIAL After more than five months of legal and political wrangling, after criminal prosecution and a guilty plea, misconduct charges that are costing both sides hundreds of thousands of dollars, and lengthy hearings at the Ethics Commission, the case against Ross Mirkarimi comes down to a simple question: Do you believe Eliana?Read more »

Eliana Lopez is a victim, but of whom?

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It's been an eventful visit to San Francisco this week for Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez, who spent the last two evenings on the witness stand testifying before the Ethics Commission as it considers removing her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, from office for official misconduct for grabbing her arm on Dec. 31. Read more »

Sheriff's wife talks to KGO-TV

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KGO's Dan Noyes flew to Caracas, Venezuela to interview the wife of embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, and while her comments haven't made anywhere near the media splash that most scraps of information on this sordid tale create, it's very much worth watching the video. Check it out here.Read more »

GUEST OPINION: The politics of retribution

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By Debra Walker and Krissy Keefer

We have been shocked and saddened by the perpetual attack on Ross Mikarimi and his family.

To Ross’s credit, he took responsibility in the criminal case he faced, and accepted a plea bargain to a non-domestic-violence misdemeanor that the district attorney concluded served the interests of justice.Read more »

Mirkarimi case: Eliana Lopez friend and defender Myrna Melgar responds to critics

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My opinion piece regarding the plight of my friend Eliana Lopez and San Francisco’s approach to handling domestic violence in her case has generated a lot of discussion since it was printed last week. I have heard from a lot of folks who tell me that it has challenged their assumptions about the particular situation but also about the unintended outcomes of handling all domestic violence through the criminal justice system. Read more »

Elevating the issue

Domestic violence groups push for policy change

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The Mirkarimi saga and the troubling prevalence of domestic violence are disturbing. But if there's a bright side, it's that advocacy groups, including La Casa de Las Madres, the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, and SF National Organization of Women (NOW) have been able to use the incident to raise awareness about domestic violence. Now, they may be affecting city policy.Read more »

Sorting through scandal

Mirkarimi's case moves from the courts to City Hall -- raising tough political and logistical questions

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news@sfbg.com

>>Read the Guardian Op-Ed by Eliana Lopez's friend Myrna Melgar here.

On March 20, Mayor Ed Lee announced his decision to suspend and seek the removal of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, taking the city into complex and uncharted legal and political territory. He did so with little explanation in a statement lasting two minutes. Then he went and hid.Read more »

Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective

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By Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi. Read more »