Family Files Legal Claims in San Francisco Pier Killing: 'Nobody Has Taken Responsibility'

September 1, 2015
ABC News

The family of Kate Steinle, the woman gunned down on a San Francisco pier this summer, filed three claims today over her death.

The claims are against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

"We're frustrated," Brad Steinle, Kate's brother, said today at a family news conference. "We're here to make sure that a change is made so nobody has to endure the pain that my mom and dad and I go through on a daily basis.

"Because the system failed our sister," he added, fighting back tears. “And at this point nobody has taken responsibility, accountability. And nothing has changed.”

Steinle said the family hopes to "start the process of change so people will feel safe when they come to this city."

Their attorney, Frank Pitre, said today, "The message that they send by filing three claims today will assure that this never happens again."

Kate Steinle, 32, was walking on a pier with her father July 1 when she was shot dead, authorities said. Sanchez pleaded not guilty to murder, according to court records.

The Steinle family blames the officials who released the suspect from jail prior to the July shooting. The suspect, Francisco Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant, had been deported several times.

Sanchez has five previous convictions for re-entry after deportation, according to court records. He was on probation in Texas at the time of the shooting and served federal time for sneaking back into the country.

The Bureau of Land Management has said that the gun used was stolen from a federal agent's car. The gun was government property and belonged to one of their enforcement rangers, the BLM said in a statement.

A BLM official told ABC News that the theft took place from a secured vehicle on June 27. The theft was then immediately reported to the San Francisco police, a BLM statement said.

"It's too late for us, that ship has sailed," Liz Sullivan, Kate's mother, said to ABC station KGO-TV. "But we want it for future, possible victims."

Sheriff Mirkarimi has said federal authorities did not provide the legal basis his department would have needed to hold Sanchez, who was released in April by San Francisco officials aftermarijuana charges against him were dropped.

"Federal courts have actually held that detaining someone for ICE is unconstitutional, it's unlawful," sheriff's office attorney Mark Nicco said, according to KGO-TV.

San Francisco's sanctuary-related ordinance says the sheriff can comply with federal detainers if the person was convicted of a violent felony or currently faces a similar offense.

"If we're not honoring ICE holds, but out the back door calling ICE to come pick somebody up, I think that's a complete contrast to what the due process for all law is," Nicco said... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)