According to a statement from the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, the Ross-Mirkarimi's-suspended-driver's-license saga has ended, not with a bang but with a whimper (and a call to California's Department of Motor Vehicles). Still, some questions remain, and a lot of contradictions are emerging between when Mirkarimi is telling us and what the facts appear to be. If you haven't been following the case, catch up here then here, and let's look at what's happening now.
Another statement from Mirkarimi, in which he gives love to the DMV
On the heels of Monday night's statement, here's what Sheriff's Department spokesperson Kenya Briggs sent on Mirkarmi's behalf Tuesday at 4:55 p.m.:
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi today announced that the matter regarding his driver license has been resolved.
“I used the public phone numbers for the DMV and traversed their process. I found them to be efficient and helpful, and after explaining the matter and filing the proper paperwork the matter has been resolved.”
Sheriff Mirkarimi was informed for the first time on Monday that the DMV had suspended his driver license, except for his ability to drive for his employment duties, for a failure to file an accident report. In fact, the Sheriff immediately reported the accident to his insurance company as well as to SFSD personnel. He was informed by his insurance company that the matter would be processed. The Sheriff learned only yesterday that his insurance provider did not file a report with the DMV as he believed. That report has now been filed.
Neither the Sheriff nor his insurance company had been notified by the DMV or any other entity regarding a license suspension or restriction. The Sheriff’s insurance coverage has remained uninterrupted.
Sheriff Mirkarimi was involved in a non-injury accident on 10/2/14. There was no damage to the City car that the Sheriff was driving but there was claimed damage to the other car. He provided his personal insurance information to the other driver as there was no City insurance information accessible in the City car.
Sheriff Mirkarimi will work with City administration on completing any remaining requirements.
I will admit to an eye roll at "traversed their process" but sounds pretty simple, right? Well, hang on.
Did the cop who pulled Mirkarimi over in June mention the Sheriff's suspended license?
Typically, when an SFPD officer pulls you over and writes you a ticket, they "run" your license — that is, they look to see if you have any outstanding warrants and make sure your license is in good standing. As we noted yesterday, SFPD pulled Mirkarimi over and ticketed him for an alleged turn violation, which we now know went down at Second and Folsom on June 9.
Bay City News reports that that ticket has "been resolved, but the sheriff was not advised of any problems with his driver’s license during that process, sheriff’s department officials said." So what happened there? Did the cop fail to run the license, was the suspension not in the system, did the cop decide not to tell Mirkarimi about the suspension (for whatever reason?) or was Mirkarimi informed and he, like, forgot or something?
Mirkarimi didn't properly report the October 2 collision
"The Chronicle has learned" (most likely, after a Mirkarimi opponent tipped them off) that Mirkarimi "failed to alert police" about the collision that started the license suspension ball rolling, a failure that's a clear violation of Sheriff's Department policy.
"Under a long-standing policy last revised in May 2013 and signed by Mirkarimi, all crashes involving Sheriff’s Department vehicles have to be reported to police for investigation," the Chron says, "However, there is no evidence Mirkarimi told police about the October accident. The Police Department has no accident report on the incident, officials with knowledge of the matter said, and DMV records do not show a police report number."
“I made a verbal report, and I will rectify it if there’s not a hard copy — I will make sure there’s a hard copy to reflect it,” Mirkarimi says.
“I just simply did not because I thought my personal insurance was taking care of it. If that was a lapse, I will make sure it is rectified.”
About that personal insurance thing...
Mirkarimi's statement Monday said that "Sheriff Mirkarimi was informed by his insurance company that they would take care of the matter, and you can scroll up to see that Tuesday's read "He was informed by his insurance company that the matter would be processed." However, the Chron spoke to Mirkarimi’s insurance company, CSAA Insurance Group, which says "NOPE!"
Mirkarimi’s insurance company, CSAA Insurance Group, said Tuesday that it had rejected the sheriff’s claim in December because he hadn’t been driving his private car.
“We reviewed it and determined at that time that, because he was driving a city vehicle, the city would provide coverage because the city is self-insured,” said company spokesman Jason Willett.
“The customer was notified several times that we wouldn’t be processing the claim,” he added.
Mirkarimi appears to have violated the DMVs change of address regulations
According to the Chron, the DMV sent Mirkarimi three letters informing him that his license was in peril. "The third letter came back in February as 'undeliverable,' apparently because Mirkarimi had moved without alerting the DMV, said agency spokesman Artemio Armenta. The agency then suspended Mirkarimi’s license."
In fact, it wasn't until Mirkarimi was pulled over in June that Mirkarimi contacted the DMV to update his address, the Chron reports.
A quick look at the DMV's site reveals that drivers registered in California "must report a change of address to DMV within 10 days of the change." So, whoops?
OK, though, let's be realistic, here: how many of us actually follow that rule? Not all of us, right? So the question here, I guess, is if we hold San Francisco's sheriff to a higher law-abiding standard?
Mirkarimi's multiple explanations on why he didn't offer up city insurance
Pretty much everyone knows that car insurance applies to the car, not the driver. I have insurance for my Smart car in my name, but if I wreck your Corvette, my Smart car's insurance company is going to tell me to fuck off (as Mirkarimi's says they did). It's weird that Mirkarimi wasn't aware of this fairly commonly-known fact, a piece of ignorance he repeated in both Monday's statement and Tuesday's.
But even weirder than that is how Mirkarimi said in both statements that "He provided his personal insurance information to the other driver as there was no City insurance information accessible in the City car," then told the Chron something very different.
Instead, "Mirkarimi said he gave the other motorist his personal private insurance because the other motorist didn’t trust the city insurance and registration, which says the cars are renewed and registered until 2099."
“'When a civilian looks at that, they say, ‘Oh my God, this doesn’t look real,’'” Mirkarimi told the paper.
Wait, what? Where did this come from? If we have two statements from Mirkarimi saying there wasn't accessible insurance information, what's this whole no, actually the other driver wouldn't take it thing about? Which one is the truth?