Murdered Woman's Family Sues 'Sanctuary City'

They blame feds, San Francisco for killing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2016 9:42 AM CDT
Murdered Woman's Family Sues 'Sanctuary City'
This photo provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez.    (San Francisco Police Department via AP, File)

The family of a woman shot dead as she walked along a San Francisco pier last year, allegedly by a Mexican man who had been deported five times before, is suing the city and the government agencies whose failings they say led to her death. Kate Steinle's family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on Friday against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Land Management, and San Francisco, which, under a "sanctuary city" policy, ignored a request to notify ICE when suspect Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was released, NPR reports. The lawsuit, which also names former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, states that the city's policy of not sharing information on undocumented immigrants with federal agencies was in "direct contravention" of federal and state law, reports CNN.

After Lopez-Sanchez finished a prison term for felony re-entry last year, ICE sent him to San Francisco to face an old marijuana warrant instead of deporting him, and the sheriff's office let him go when the case was dismissed, the Los Angeles Times reports. On July 1, within weeks of his release, Lopez-Sanchez is believed to have shot Steinle, 32, with a government-issued firearm that had been stolen from a BLM agent's car. "Kate's death was both foreseeable and preventable had the law enforcement agencies, officials, and/or officers involved simply followed the laws, regulations, and/or procedures which they swore to uphold," the lawsuit states. NPR notes that San Francisco has kept its controversial policy in place, though the sheriff is now allowed to share information with the feds when detained immigrants have felony convictions. (Lopez-Sanchez, who is in jail awaiting his murder trial, says the shooting was an accident.)

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