San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee failed to muster nine of the 11 votes needed to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, and the sheriff has returned to his job on Wednesday.
Lee suspended Mirkarimi in March and filed misconduct charges over a domestic dispute between Mirkarimi and his wife, Venezuelan soap star Eliana Lopez. Mirkarimi had agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment for allegedly grabbing his wife's arm and bruising her.
Domestic violence experts told the Mercury News that San Francisco is sending a message that it doesn't take domestic violence seriously, and that could have a chilling effect on victims and embolden abusers far beyond the city limits.
"It's going to make it harder for victims to report because they'll say, 'Look what happened in San Francisco,'" said Rodney Clark, who heads SAVE, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, in Fremont. "He got a slap on the wrist. If that can happen there, and I live in Fremont or Hayward or Stockton or Oakley and they're not as progressive, then I'm not going to expect much good treatment in my case."