A jury on Thursday November 30, found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of homicide charges in the July 2015 death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Garcia Zarate, a Mexican citizen and undocumented immigrant, had been deported been five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Kate Steinle was fatally shot in the back while walking with her father on the pier.
Garcia Zarate, 45, faced a charge of second-degree murder, but jurors were also allowed to consider first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions.
San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” law bars local officials from cooperating with federal attempts to deport those in the country illegally, and the city had released Garcia Zarate from custody despite a federal detention request.
Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and was transferred in March 2015 to San Francisco’s jail to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana. The sheriff’s department released him a few days later after the district attorney dropped the marijuana charge, despite a U.S. request to detain him for deportation. About three months later, he shot and killed Steinle on Pier 14, in the crowded waterfront district known as the Embarcadero.
The city of San Francisco is complicit in the death of Kate Steinle if they had handed over Zarate to federal authorities she would be alive today. We need to abolish sanctuary cities and their harboring of illegal criminals. The federal government needs to enforce the law already on the book.
There is such a law on the books. In 1996, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, including section 8 U.S.C. 1373, which provided that no state or local entity can in any way restrict its law-enforcement officials from communicating with federal immigration authorities regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.