President Trump is weighing in on a California criminal case.
On Thursday, a jury acquitted a Mexican immigrant who was in the U.S. illegally in the death of a woman in San Francisco two years ago.
The acquittal spurred a response from Trump, who tweeted, “ A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.”
A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
The defendant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was found not guilty of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as assault with a deadly weapon. He was convicted, however, of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could bring a three year sentence, according to CNN. Zarate had shot and killed Kathryn Steinle as she walked with her father down Pier 41 in San Francisco in 2015. His attorney said the shooting was accidental—the bullet reportedly ricocheted off the ground and then hit Steinle.
Immigration officials reportedly plan to deport Zarate. He had already been deported five times prior to Steinle’s death.
Three months before the incident, Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail after being charged for selling marijuana. Despite his illegal status, Zarate was allowed to remain free under San Francisco’s sanctuary city laws.
Trump had frequently cited Steinle’s case during his presidential campaign to demonstrate the dangers of sanctuary city laws. In a campaign speech in Phoenix, Arizona last year, Trump harped on this point, saying, “Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws like they have to be enforced. I have met with many of the great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders. So many people, so many, many people. So sad.” This summer, the House passed a Republican-driven bill called “Kate’s Law,” which “creates harsher punishments for illegal re-entry into the US.”
Meanwhile, the Steinle’s told San Francisco Chronicle in an exclusive interview that while they are “saddened and shocked” by the ruling, they nevertheless support sanctuary city laws. According to the Chronicle, they support the concept “as a way to encourage immigrants, regardless of legal status, to come forward as victims or witnesses to crimes without fear of deportation.” Yet they feel San Francisco failed in its responsibilities to protect its citizens when the Sheriff’s department ceased communication with federal immigration authorities.