News & Politics

Kate Steinle's Family Sues San Francisco, Federal Agencies Over Deadly Shooting by Illegal Immigrant

Brad Steinle, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle, the brother, mother and father of Kate Steinle (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The parents of Kate Steinle, the woman shot to death by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco last summer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the city, its sheriff, and two federal agencies. 

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in a federal court in San Francisco, seeks to hold the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the City and County of San Francisco and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department for providing “the means and opportunity for a repeat drug felon to secure a gun and kill” the 31-year-old, the complaint reads.

James and Elizabeth Steinle are accusing the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department of failing to notify federal immigration officials when it released Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez from jail.

Via Fox News:

Frank Pitre, the lawyer for Steinle’s family, said the lawsuit points out “failures at every level.”

He said a seven-time convicted felon was able to obtain a BLM officer’s handgun due to negligence and ICE agents did not pursue his deportation.

The murder of Kate Steinle put San Francisco’s leaders on the defensive for supporting the city’s dysfunctional sanctuary law.  Despite the national outcry, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors last week voted to retain its sanctuary city policies for people in the country illegally.

As has been the case since 2013, the legislation bars city law enforcement officials from notifying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when an individual will be released from local custody, except in limited circumstances.

In the wake of Steinle’s murder, sanctuary cities have become a hot-button issue in the presidential race. Last summer, Donald Trump vowed to scrutinize existing sanctuary city policies and held  a press conference in Los Angeles featuring family members of other individuals who were killed by illegal immigrants.

In an interview earlier this month with KVI-AM in Seattle, Trump said that as president he would withhold funding from sanctuary cities, calling such cities “a haven for criminals.”

“We have to have law and order in our country,” Trump said. “We have no law and order. When you look at the people who are pouring in and the borders are so porous.”

“I want people to come into the country a hundred percent,” he explained, “but they have to come in legally. They have to come in through a process, and what’s happening now is out of control. It’s totally out of control.”

Democrat presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, fully support sanctuary cities.

“Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years,” a Clinton spokeswoman said days after Steinle’s murder.

On his campaign website, Bernie Sanders informs voters that he “wholeheartedly rejects the ‘The Great Sanctuary City Slander’ as the politics of fear, and supports enacting community trust [sanctuary city] policies.”

These policies will strengthen relationships between community members and local law enforcement, respect the constitutional rights of immigrants, and reflect the will of a locally elected electorate.

A Rasmussen poll last summer found that 62% of likely U.S. voters thought “the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants.” A mere 26% opposed Justice Department action against sanctuary cities and 12% were undecided. A poll in September found that Californians strongly oppose sanctuary city policies, with 74% of respondents saying that “local authorities should not be able to ignore a federal request to hold a detained person who is in the country illegally.”