Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, left, with retired San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessy, after Hennessy endorsed Mirkarimi in the 2011 Sheriff's race to elect his successor. Photo courtesy of Luke Thomas
KPFA News, 03.24.2012
Social justice advocates are asking what is to become of San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey's groundbreaking legacy of redemptive rather than retributive justice, if newly elected Sheriff Mirkarimi is forced from office?
Upon his retirement, Sheriff Hennessey endorsed then Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to take his place. After Mirkarimi's decision to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in a domestic violence trial, which would allow him to legally remain in office, the San Francisco Chronicle reported this conversation with Hennessey:
"My opinion is that he should remain in the job and be given a chance to show what he can do with the office. I think he's being punished accordingly by the justice system," said Hennessey, who has been lauded by victims' advocacy groups over the years for domestic violence services and programs that began under his watch. While admitting guilt to the crime of false imprisonment is serious, he added, it should not automatically disqualify Mirkarimi from holding office. "During my time as sheriff, I hired many people with criminal records who have done outstanding jobs for the department," Hennessey said. "Oftentimes, you have to look at the whole issue of rehabilitation and redemption."