Jury: Mexican man not guilty in San Francisco pier killing

01 December, 2017, 06:41 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • Getty Images

An illegal immigrant accused of shooting Kate Steinle to death on pier in the sanctuary city of San Francisco is found not guilty of murder or manslaughter. His lawyers argued it was an accident.

Steinle, a medical equipment saleswoman, was out for a July afternoon walk with her dad on San Francisco's Pier 14 when she was struck in the back by a single bullet.

President Trump later signed an executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with US immigration authorities, a policy that a federal judge in San Francisco permanently blocked Monday. And even the prosecution agreed that there was no evidence linking Garcia Zarate to that robbery.

"The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens", Sessions said in Thursday's statement.

Trump has said that Steinle's death, just two weeks after he launched his presidential campaign, is emblematic of the problems in the US immigration system, particularly the continued existence of sanctuary cities where local officials refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

"San Francisco's decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle", Sessions said in a statement.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions said San Franciso's status as a sanctuary city was largely to blame for what happened that summer day. Jurors convicted the Mexican citizen only of being a felon in possession of a firearm Thursday, in the sixth day of deliberations after receiving the case last week. "They did not obey the law".

Zarate had claimed he found the gun used in the shooting wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench and that it went off accidentally, The Associated Press reported. When he was released, ICE sent him to San Francisco on March 26, 2015, for a 1995 warrant accusing him of selling $20 worth of marijuana.

But in a police interrogation, Garcia Zarate admitted to firing the gun, saying he was aiming at a seal.

Steinle's family filed a lawsuit in 2016 alleging that San Francisco and its former sheriff were partly to blame for Steinle's death, because officials never notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement when Garcia Zarate was released from a local jail in April 2015. She was a 32-year-old medical equipment saleswoman.

President Donald Trump said during the campaign that Steinle's death was another reason the United States needed to build a wall on its southern border and tighten its immigration policies. The legislation would increase maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the United States illegally. But it's unlikely to have enough votes to pass the Senate, which struggled with Kate's Law a year ago.

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