Trump Blasts 'Disgraceful' Kate Steinle Verdict

Defense Lawyer Matt Gonzalez

Laura A. Oda TNS Newscom

After a jury on Thursday found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty, the president was among those who reacted on Twitter.

A jury has reached a verdict Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in the trial of Mexican man at center of immigration debate in the San Francisco pier shooting.

"This man, or this animal, that shot that wonderful, that handsome woman in San Francisco, this guy was pushed back by Mexico", Donald Trump told CNN in July 2015 shortly after announcing his candidacy.

Trump signed an executive order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, but a federal judge recently blocked it in a lawsuit from two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and had been transferred to San Francisco's jail in March 2015 to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.

Sanctuary supporters say enlisting police in deportation actions undermines community trust in local law enforcement, particularly among Latinos.

The jury of six men and six women - including three immigrants - found Garcia Zarate not guilty of homicide. President Donald Trump used the case as an example of why the country needs tougher immigration policies during his campaign.

Zarate had been deported from the United States five times before Steinle was shot and killed.

MCEVERS: What are some of the elements of this case that led jurors to this verdict?

After the verdict, a Public Defender Jeff Adachi also released a statement saying Zarate was "extremely relieved" by the decision and while Steinle's death "was a terrible tragedy", it was used as "political fodder for the then candidate Donald Trump's anti-immigration agenda", Fox News reported. So that is something that sanctuary cities including San Francisco have always said they would comply with.

Despite the national political implications, the San Francisco jury was charged with a more discreet task of criminal culpability for Steinle's death. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas Homan said his agency will now seek take custody of Zarate and deport him. The defense argued that the shooting was unintentional, that the defendant found the gun wrapped in a cloth under his seat at the pier and that it accidentally discharged.

Known as Kate, she was walking along the pier when she was struck by a bullet and died in her father's arms.

Steinle's death became a rallying cry for Trump and others, who have invoked the case in decrying sanctuary cities and promoting the construction of the border wall.

San Francisco prosecutors dropped the charge and then the sheriff's department let him go, despite a federal detainer request.

Trump also mentioned Steinle in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention after winning the Republican presidential nomination.

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