Tuesday San Francisco News Roundup
Family of Woman Killed in Pier 14 Shooting To Sue Sheriff, ICE, BLM
The family of a woman shot and killed at San Francisco’s Pier 14 last month said Monday that they plan to sue city and federal officials.
San Francisco resident Kathryn “Kate” Steinle, 32, a Pleasanton native, was fatally shot on July 1 while walking with family members on the Pier in broad daylight.
Within an hour of the shooting, police arrested Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times and has seven prior felony convictions, including four involving narcotics.
The shooting and arrest have triggered a national debate on San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policy, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national, had been released from San Francisco County Jail in April despite a request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to detain him so that ICE field agents could deport him for a sixth time.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who has borne the brunt of the criticism following the incident, has argued that cooperating with the ICE request would have violated San Francisco’s Sanctuary City and Due Process for All policies, as well as the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Mayor Ed Lee
This evening, Mirkarimi issued a statement saying that while he “can’t comment on potential litigation, he continues to extend his deepest sympathy to the Steinle family for their loss.”
The Steinle family plans to hold a press conference today on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to discuss planned claims against Mirkarimi, ICE and the Bureau of Land Management, according to a statement released Monday evening.
The gun used in the shooting had been previously reported stolen by a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger while he was traveling on official business in San Francisco.
In a preliminary hearing last week to determine if Lopez-Sanchez would stand trial for murder experts testified that the bullet that killed Steinle appears to have ricocheted off of something before hitting her, suggesting that she was not the intended target. That hearing has been continued to Sept. 3.
Critical Mass Cyclist Attacks Car With U-Lock
A cyclist riding with the Critical Mass bicycle group on Friday night was caught on video striking a rental car multiple times with his bike lock in San Francisco’s Marina District.
In a video posted to YouTube the day after the incident, a group of cyclists are seen partaking in the mass bicycle ride, which is held in San Francisco on the last Friday of each month.
Music is playing as the bikes are cruising through the intersection of Marina Boulevard and Lyon Street. The person who shot the video states that the incident occurred at 8:16 p.m.
In the video, the group attempts to cross Marina Boulevard by cutting across multiple lanes of traffic and then a driver of a Zipcar moves toward the cyclists.
A cyclist blocks the car’s path and others join him. The driver nudges forward as the cyclists yell.
The cyclist then takes his U-Lock and slams it against the car multiple times as it drives off.
The San Francisco Critical Mass group, which is not an organization and has no known leaders, explicitly discourages cyclists from picking fights with motorists “even (especially) if they’re itching for one.”
The Critical Mass guidelines also discourage riders from riding into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road.
No police report was filed following the incident and therefore, police are not trying to identify the cyclist.
In response to the incident, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina District, released a statement Monday condemning the behavior.
“The actions by the cyclists caught on video this past Friday evening participating in Critical Mass are disturbing and should never be tolerated in our city – especially the one cyclist seen attacking the vehicle with a bicycle lock repeated times,” Farrell states.
Farrell said that while he understands the history that Critical Mass has as a pro-bicycle protest movement in the city, and recognizes that most of the participants are respectful of others, he said the Critical Mass participants “must understand that actions like the ones this past Friday reflect poorly on the entire group and hurt the group’s overall message and movement.”
Silk Road Agent Admits Theft of $820,000 in Bitcoin, Pleads Guilty to Two Counts
A former Secret Service agent who stole $820,000 worth of bitcoin from the Silk Road online black market while investigating it pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco Monday to two felony charges.
Shaun Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Md., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg to one count of money laundering of the funds he stole and one count of obstructing justice in a federal probe of his theft.
Bridges will be sentenced by Seeborg on Dec. 7. Each count carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Bridges is one of two former federal agents convicted of corruption during the investigation of Silk Road and its founder, Ross Ulbricht.
The other is former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force, 46, of Baltimore. He pleaded guilty before Seeborg on July 2 to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice and will be sentenced on Oct. 19.
Silk Road, operated by Ulbricht between 2011 and 2013, sold illegal drugs, false identification, computer hacking tools and money laundering services. It was described by the FBI as “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet.” Buyers purchased items with Bitcoin virtual currency.
Ulbricht, 31, of San Francisco, who used the online name Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested while using his laptop in the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Oct. 1, 2013.
He was convicted in federal court in New York this year of seven felonies, including running a continuing criminal enterprise and selling drugs, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Bridges and Force were assigned to the investigation in a separate case now pending in federal court in Baltimore, in which Ulbricht is charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine and attempting to arrange the murder-for-hire of an employee he believed to be a thief.
According to a criminal complaint filed against Force and Bridges and other court documents, the suspected employee, unbeknownst to Ulbricht, was arrested by the two agents on Jan. 17, 2013, and was cooperating with authorities.
Bridges admitted in a written plea agreement filed Monday that he used information obtained from the cooperator to reset passwords on Silk Road vendor accounts and siphon 20,000 bitcoins into his account at Mt. Gox, a digital currency exchange based in Japan, on Jan. 25 and 26, 2013.
Bridges admitted that when he converted the funds to U.S. currency and placed them in an investment account between March and May 2013, they were worth a total of $820,000.
He acknowledged in the agreement that he obstructed justice by impeding the full use of the cooperator’s information and by “creating an additional incentive for Ulbricht to attempt to hire someone to kill a cooperator whom Ulbricht suspected of committing thefts I had in fact committed.”
Bridges said he also obstructed justice by lying to agents of the FBI, Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office and Internal Revenue Service during a 2014 investigation of his actions.
Bullet Flies Past Muni Driver, Possibly Striking Person in the Tenderloin
Police are investigating a shooting in which a bullet struck a San Francisco Municipal railway bus on Friday night in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.
The shooting, reported at about 11:20 p.m. on Friday struck a Muni bus traveling east on McAllister Street onto Market Street, officers said.
The bullet entered the front driver’s side window, just missing the bus driver, police said.
Police said that a victim later showed up at San Francisco General Hospital with a gunshot wound to his foot.
Police said the injury may have been caused by the same bullet, but the victim refused to provide police with further information regarding his injury.
No arrests have been made and the shooting remains under investigation, police said.
Today’s Weather Forecast
Today will be mostly cloudy with patchy fog in the morning. Highs will be in the upper 60s and southwest winds will reach 10 to 15 miles per hour.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy in the evening and then will become cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle after midnight. Lows will be around 60 and west winds will reach 10 to 20 miles per hour, decreasing to 10 miles per hour after midnight.
Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning. Highs will be in the upper 60s and west winds will reach around 10 miles per hour.