SF faces claim af­ter stolen po­lice gun used in mur­der

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ State/ Opinion -

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The fam­ily of a com­mu­nity vol­un­teer killed by a gun stolen from a San Francisco of­fi­cer filed a le­gal claim with the city Wed­nes­day, al­leg­ing the po­lice depart­ment failed to pro­vide proper train­ing on gun stor­age.

Abel Esquivel, 22, was killed dur­ing a rob­bery Aug. 15 as he walked to his mother’s house af­ter work­ing a late shift at a gro­cery store. He vol­un­teered at the Cen­tral Amer­i­can Re­source Cen­ter, which pro­vides le­gal help to low-in­come Latino clients and other so­cial ser­vices.

Three men were ar­rested and charged with mur­der, in­clud­ing an 18-year-old fac­ing de­por­ta­tion who was wear­ing a mon­i­tor­ing de­vice so fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties could track him.

The fam­ily’s claim was filed at City Hall and seeks un­spec­i­fied dam­ages. It al­leges that the off-duty of­fi­cer’s loaded gun was left unat­tended in a pri­vate car rather than stored in a lock­box in the trunk.

If the San Francisco Board of Su­per­vi­sors re­jects the claim, lawyers said they will file a wrong­ful-death law­suit.

City at­tor­ney spokesman John Cote said San Francisco lawyers are re­view­ing the claim.

“What’s clear is that Mr. Esquivel’s death was a tragedy, and we are heartbroken for his fam­ily,” Cote said. “But our of­fice also has a le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity to San Francisco’s tax­pay­ers. Based on what we know now, the city is not li­able for his death un­der the law.”

Two sep­a­rate law­suits are pend­ing in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia al­leg­ing that guns stolen from law en­force­ment of­fi­cials were used in homi­cides, in­clud­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of Kate Steinle in July 2015.

A Mex­i­can man liv­ing in the coun­try il­lWe­gally who had been de­ported five times was charged with mur­der af­ter Steinle’s death on a San Francisco pier, spark­ing a na­tional de­bate over the coun­try’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies.

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