By Joe Vazquez

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco taxpayers could soon pay $190,000 in a lawsuit settlement with an undocumented immigrant who claimed he was reported to federal immigration authorities in violation of the city’s sanctuary city ordinance, the City Attorney’s office confirms to KPIX5.

The settlement is expected to be confirmed by San Francisco supervisors in future hearings.

Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno walked into the police station on December 2, 2015 to recover his stolen car.

When he left the station, he was immediately taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read Also: SF Police Lead ICE To Undocumented Man

A document from federal immigration authorities released by his attorneys indicates that a San Francisco police officer directly contacted ICE and told them where to find Figueroa-Zarceno, the man’s attorneys and representatives said Wednesday.

The apparent incident, which led to the two-month detention of Figueroa-Zarceno, could be a violation of Sanctuary City policies placing limits on local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with immigration officials, according to his attorneys.

Figueroa-Zarceno, a native of El Salvador with a fiancee who is a U.S. citizen and an eight-year-old daughter, was released Wednesday.

Speaking through an interpreter, Figueroa-Zarceno said that once he was at the station he was detained and handcuffed, and told that police needed to ask him questions. No questions were asked, but after a few minutes he was released out a side door, where an ICE agent was waiting outside to detain him.

“I could hear my daughter screaming outside the van, Dad! Dad!” he said. “I could hear her telling them not to take her dad.”

The city approved a Sanctuary City policy in 1989 prohibiting city officials from enforcing immigration laws in most cases as a way to encourage immigrant communities to trust and cooperate with police.

A second 2013 ordinance, Due Process for All, prohibits San Francisco law enforcement from detaining people on behalf of immigration authorities for deportation unless they are wanted for a serious crime.

Figueroa-Zarceno’s attorneys said the ICE document released Friday indicates that the sheriff’s department contacted ICE on Dec. 2 stating that a “final order fugitive” had been contacted by San Francisco police.

At the same time, the document states, a San Francisco police officer contacted the ICE duty officer directly and told him Figueroa-Zarceno was at the police station. He was taken into custody by ICE around half an hour later.

ICE officials confirmed the detention but would not comment on the documents released Friday.

Zachary Nightingale, Figueroa-Zarceno’s attorney, said the document shows that while he served two days for a DUI in 2012, there were no criminal warrants for Figueroa-Zarceno in the system, only a civil deportation order dating back to 2005.

A judge has since reopened Figueroa-Zarceno’s immigration case after finding that the initial order was given without proper notification, and a new hearing is now scheduled for 2019, Nightingale said.

Eileen Hirst, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said a warrant for Figueroa-Zarceno was found in a national criminal database when police ran his name through the system, and the sheriff’s department called ICE to confirm that warrant, as is routinely done with all warrants.

The department did not provide his location to immigration authorities during that call, she said.

Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said in a statement Friday that then-Police Chief Greg Suhr had informed Mayor Ed Lee that Figueroa-Zarceno “never should have been taken into custody by ICE agents after being released from Southern Police Station.”

“It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department to foster trust and cooperation with all people of the City and to encourage them to communicate with SFPD officers without fear of inquiry regarding their immigration status,” the statement said.

The department is investigating and if any violations of policies and procedures are found, “there will be serious consequences,” the statement said.

John Coté, a spokesman for the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “San Francisco has strong policies in place to encourage victims and witnesses to report crimes without fear of being deported, which include our sanctuary ordinance. These policies are designed to foster respect and trust between law enforcement and residents to ensure our communities are safe. The City, including the Police Department, remain committed to them.”

Coté said, “This proposed settlement is a fair resolution for all of the parties involved.”

Mayor Lee said he’d spoken with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the case last week, and is “pleased” that Figueroa-Zarceno has been released.

Supervisor John Avalos said the incident was an illustration of how collaboration with immigration authorities can erode the trust between the community and local law enforcement.

It also highlighted the increased “politicization” of immigration during the election season, as seen in the national response last year to the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who had been released from custody a short time earlier.

Comments (48)
  1. This city is nuts and all federal monies should be cut off. Paying an illegal instead of deportation, how funny can it get.

    1. Jeannie Beck says:

      This is the SF idea of cooperation with the police? Don’t report us or we will sue? The rest of the country is laughing at you.

    2. Tyler Brown says:

      And they claim we have privilage, SMH. Break the USA laws and get instant rich.

  2. John Mirande says:

    Yes Congress is very close to passing a law to defund nutty Sanctuary cities……cannot hardly wait.

  3. Rene Ilf says:

    ridiculous. also i know that immigrants don’t call police. i’ve lived in sanctuary city san rafael for many years and watch crimes and injuries take place (car crashes, gang fights, etc) and no immigrants would call the police. i was the only one who would call and when they came the whole neighborhood would run inside. no one would give witness statements.
    even after kate steinle murder sf still on this sanctuary city bs. its just political bs to get votes to get money. sf full of lemmings. marching against trump when they should march against corrupt sf, potholes, homeless filth

  4. Why don’t they let the illegal live in Gavin Newsom’s house for a “fair” dispensation of justice ?
    I’m sure Gavin would live that, and then give the illegal’s parents a room in Mayor Ed Lee’s house. You all know Ed Lee, the man who sent a limo from San Francisco to a Victorville jail to pick up Francisco Sanchez and promptly release him away from ICE – who eventually killed Kate Steinle a short time later.

    The big question is, why do the people of San Francisco elect these kinds of people to leadership ?? Maybe it’s the people of San Fransisco that are the underlying problem to the health of that city.

  5. As Savage says: Liberalism is a mental disorder! Good enough reason to get rid of the San Francisco nuts.

  6. This is hilarious! San Fran taxpayers, you done been boinked from behind by your elected community organizers!

  7. RE:

    ““It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department to foster trust and cooperation with all people of the City and to encourage them to communicate with SFPD officers without fear of inquiry regarding their immigration status,” the statement said.” ….

    Hey govt. dweebs: how about fostering some trust with law biding Citizens by enforcing the LAW?

  8. Warren Ethan says:

    Complete and utter morons. Seize his assets and kick him out of the country. Then vote out the excuse of a mayor who allowed this vermin to fester here.

  9. sariundone says:

    it’s not a threat when cali says they want to secede, it’s a hope the rest of the country has!!

  10. Californians are beyond nuts. Can you please secede and pay for the wall between your insane people and the rest of the US.. and Keep Hollywood fools with you.

  11. that illegal dude is just laughing at San Francisco. illegal+sanctuary city laws= $$$

  12. This is just more proof that illegals vote in california. What taxpayer would vote to pay for this??

  13. “… ensure our communities are safe.” Yeah,m tell that to Kathryn Steinle, oh, wait, you can not as she was murdered by one of these wonderful people. Now, I am not saying all the immigrants are bad, but, the law protected a KNOWN felon and criminal. Deported several times, he came back and was protect by those that do not want the U.S to be a Nation. Thank you to the failed leaders of SF and to likes of Nancy Pelosi and her herd.
    Figueroa-Zarceno was released and seems to be trying to become a legitimate citizen, he was not harmed and has not had any wrong doing committed against him. Why should he get so much tax payer money? The city can not even maintain itself as it is.

  14. Is everyone that lives in California an idiot?????