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Appeals Court upholds dismissal of Steinle Parents’ negligence claim against San Francisco, former Sheriff

Posted at 5:58 AM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 08:58:11-04
Kate Steinle
Kate Steinle


The parents of Kate Steinle were dealt a major legal blow this week.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the dismissal of the family’s lawsuit against the City of San Francisco and Former San Francisco Sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi.

On Monday, a three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the city and the sheriff acted within the law when they refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents. The Steinle family had tried to claim negligence.

Steinle, who was a Cal Poly graduate, was killed in July of 2015 on San Francisco’s Pier 14.

She was 32 years old when a bullet ricocheted from a gun fired by Jose Garcia Zarate. Garcia Zarate is an undocumented immigrant with a history of drug convictions and deportations.

Jose Garcia Zarate
Jose Garcia Zarate


He was on the pier after he had been released from jail.

Then-Sheriff Mirkarimi told his staff not to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, when they release undocumented inmates. That was in keeping with the city’s Sanctuary City and non-cooperation policy.

Garcia Zarate was eventually acquitted of Steinle’s murder, but convicted on a gun charge.

NBC affiliate KNTV reached out to Steinle’s parents on Monday but didn’t receive a response.

The City Attorney’s Office issued a statement saying the city was heartbroken for the Steinle Family, but that the court’s ruling allows the city to decide what policies are best to protect all of its residents and make communities safer.

The Steinle case made national headlines and sparked a nationwide debate over Sanctuary City policy. President Donald Trump even weighed in on the issue. He called the verdict in the case “disgraceful.” In one tweet, he wrote that Garcia Zarate’s exoneration was a “complete travesty of justice.”