Pier 14 shooting victim’s family files claim against SF, feds

September 1, 2015
San Francisco Examiner

The parents of Kathryn Steinle filed claims Monday against San Francisco and federal agencies for the wrongful death of their daughter who was allegedly shot to death by an undocumented immigrant in July.

The claims are prerequisites to lawsuits which allege negligence by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led to Steinle’s death July 1.

The suspected shooter, an undocumented immigrant and convicted felon named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was released from County Jail without the Sheriff’s Department alerting ICE.

During Lopez-Sanchez’s preliminary hearing last week, a gun expert testified Steinle was struck at random by a ricocheted bullet on Pier 14. The bullet, allegedly fired by Lopez-Sanchez, skipped off the concrete ground of Pier 14 and struck Steinle in the back.

Efforts were made to reach Mirkarimi, but he declined comment.

“While Sheriff Mirkarimi can’t comment on potential litigation, he continues to extend his deepest sympathy to the Steinle family for their loss,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

In the two months that have followed her death, Mirkarimi and immigration officials have deflected blame for her death onto one another as a political firestorm over immigration reform was sparked nationally by presidential candidate Donald Trump.

But with the claims filed Monday, the family hopes to settle the matter, find who’s at fault within the law and bring attention to The City’s sanctuary status “so that nobody has to endure the pain my mom and dad and I go through on a daily basis because the system failed my sister,” said Brad Steinle, the victim’s brother, at a press conference Tuesday.

At the press conference, the family and attorney Frank Pitre focused blame on negligence by the various city agencies and said they were seeking damages because they want to prevent undocumented felons from hurting citizens in the future.

“It’s not okay to have these people who are violent felons in our United States,” Liz Sullivan, Steinle’s mother, told reporters.

However, in Lopez-Sanchez’s 18-year criminal history, he has never been convicted of a violent crime. His felony convictions between 1993 and 2011 have been drug-related or for entering the U.S. illegally.

Still, Steinle’s father James Steinle wants someone to answer for the killing of his daughter.

“The silence has been deafening,” James Steinle said before recalling the day his daughter was killed, as he wrapped his arm around her. James Steinle said his daughter death is always on his mind. “ That’s my bedtime story every night, if you want it to be your bedtime story…” he trailed off.

In the claim against Mirkarimi, the sheriff is accused of violating federal law by ordering the Sheriff’s Department not to communicate with immigration officials. ICE is accused of failing to detain and deport Lopez-Sanchez upon his release from jail as also required by federal law.

Mirkarimi has said his department will not hand over undocumented persons in response to immigration holds unless there’s a court order or warrant in play, according to the claim. The claim says ICE was aware of this and should have obtained a detainer for Lopez-Sanchez prior to his release... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)