Friday, June 30, 2017


Undocumented immigrant to receive $190,000 from SF for sanctuary city violation

By Jonah Owen Lamb

San Francisco Examiner
June 28, 2017

A man who San Francisco police turned over to immigration authorities in violation of The City’s sanctuary ordinance is set to be awarded $190,000 in a settlement agreement reached with the City Attorney’s Office, which his lawyer hopes will push police to obey such laws.

Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno, 33, sued The City on Jan. 17 for violating its sanctuary city laws when officers at Southern Station allegedly cooperated with immigration officials. Figueroa-Zarceno, an undocumented immigrant and native of El Salvador, went to the station at 1251 3rd Street in Mission Bay in December 2015 to report a stolen car.

But instead of helping him find his car, officers called immigration authorities, who took him into custody outside of the station.

Police reports and case documents previously obtained by the Examiner showed that officers at the station detained Figueroa-Zarceno after they ran his name and found a warrant for his arrest. But they were unable to find details on the warrant, so Figueroa-Zarceno was released from a side door, where he was then arrested by immigration officials. Those officials had been notified by San Francisco police.

“It’s really important for San Francisco to remain a sanctuary city not in name only but also in practice,” said Saira Hussain, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus, who represented Zarceno.

Hussain said her client’s case is not an isolated incident, and she hopes the settlement will encourage the department to follow its own rules and city ordinances. One recent case she mentioned was when an undercover officer, Joshua Fry, was caught on tape allegedly threatening to call immigration authorities on men in U.N. Plaza on May 5.

“Our hope is that the department is going to look into this further and really examine the way that the department can do more,” she said.

The department did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

The settlement agreement — which was introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday and has yet to be voted on — and lawsuit names a number of officers who were involved, including then-Acting Chief of Police Toney Chaplin, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, sgts. Trevor Kelly and Eric Balmy, and officers Kevin Clifford, Nicole Chambers and Dayna Thibeaux.

Settlement agreements that are reached by the City Attorney’s Office are usually approved by the Board of Supervisors, but the body can reject them. The matter will next go before the Government Audit and Oversight Committee, which will then send their recommendation back to the Board of Supervisors.

City law, the Due Process for All Ordinance, bars law enforcement from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other federal immigration officials, except in a few exceptions when violent criminals are involved. Part of the law’s purpose was to encourage immigrants to report crimes they may otherwise not report because they fear law enforcement will turn them over to immigration authorities.

The City’s sanctuary laws have been center stage in recent years in national politics, including in the killing of San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant who at Pier 14 on July 1, 2015.

The suspect, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican citizen, had been sent to San Francisco on an old drug possession warrant from federal custody and then released months before the shooting.

The City came under fire from many who said that Steinle’s death was due to The City’s policies, which allowed the release of Lopez-Sanchez from jail because he had no violent convictions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the sanctuary city kooks give Pedro 190,000 because that is less costly than continuing on with his lawsuit, I can understand that. What I cannot understand is why the judges didn’t dump Pedro’s lawsuit into the nearest garbage landfill.

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

If I lived in SF I would sue the city for making an unlawful gift of public funds.