Steinle parents file claims against feds and sheriff
September 2, 2015
The parents of slain Cal Poly grad Kathryn Steinle have filed claims against the San Francisco sheriff, as well as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), alleging each contributed to the death of their daughter. [CBS Sacramento]
On July 1, Steinle, 32, was walking with her father along Pier 14 in San Francisco when she was shot in the back and killed. The gun used in the shooting was a service weapon that belonged to a BLM ranger, the federal agency has confirmed.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time felon who has been deported to Mexico five times, is accused of murdering Steinle. Lopez-Sanchez has admitted to firing the shot that killed Steinle, though he claims he did so by accident.
In March, Lopez-Sanchez was transported from ICE custody to the San Francisco jail on 20-year-old drug charges. Prosecutors then dropped the charges, and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department released Lopez-Sanchez, despite receiving a detainer request from ICE.
San Francisco is a sanctuary city with a policy of not turning over inmates to ICE. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said his department released Lopez-Sanchez in accordance with city law.
The Steinle family alleges Mirkarimi violated federal laws in March when he issued a memo barring jail staff from communicating with immigration officials about detainer requests. The claim names both Mirkarimi and the sheriff’s department.
The family filed separate claims against the two federal agencies.
The claim against BLM alleges the ranger left his loaded gun in a backpack in plain view in his car. The gun was stolen days before the shooting.
In its claim against ICE, Steinle’s family faults immigration officials for not obtaining judicial notice or a warrant for Lopez-Sanchez’s arrest, as required by the city of San Francisco.
Steinle’s death has ignited a national debate over the concept of sanctuary cities and federal restrictions that bar local law enforcement from handing off illegal immigrants to ICE. Jim Steinle, Kathryn’s father, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, urging lawmakers to abolish local policies of ignoring ICE detainers.