SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Mayor Ed Lee wants to put up a memorial to Kate Steinle, the woman who was allegedly shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant on Pier 14 earlier this year.
“She was somebody that was innocently killed on our streets,” Mayor Ed Lee said.
Steinle, however, was more than just an innocent victim. Her death set off a national debate.
Accused shooter Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times, and was on the streets because San Francisco officials disregarded an immigration hold that would have kept him locked up, as part of the city’s sanctuary policy.
Still, there were 31 other homicides in San Francisco this year, 48 last year. None of them got a plaque.
“Every situation is different,” Lee said. “I don’t value her being more special than anybody else.”
Lee said the action came after a personal phone call to Kate Steinle’s father Jim, who was with his daughter when she was shot and held her in his arms as her life slipped away.
“If there is a way to honor her life and her positivity, for a city that is officially apologizing for that event and trying to prevent it from happening to anybody else, I’ll support it,” Lee said.
Marty Halloran of the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association said about the plaque, “It’s a wonderful gesture by the city. I think a better gesture would be to change the flawed sanctuary policy that this city has.”
Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, who was in town this week, appeared to agree. “It is simply, in my judgment, not acceptable to have no policy of co-operation with immigration enforcement,” Johnson said.
The Steinle family has filed claims against the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and ICE over the shooting. Meanwhile, four supervisors are introducing a resolution at the Democratic Central Committee to reaffirm the Sanctuary City policy.