A San Francisco jury acquitted the man who shot and killed Kate Steinle in 2015 of murder, manslaughter, and assault on Thursday, but the Department of Justice may press federal charges.
Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate was wanted for his sixth deportation when he shot and killed Kate Steinle, who was walking along a San Francisco pier, with a gun stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management SUV.
According to the jury, possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony was the only thing he did wrong.
Zarate claimed he found the gun wrapped in a t-shirt. He says it went off by accident and shot Steinle in the back when he picked it up.
Zarate’s defense knew very well that Zarate’s story sounded completely bogus, but told the jury that they shouldn’t find him guilty even if they think he is.
According to Newsday, attorney Matt Gonzalez told the jury that Zarate probably didn’t fire on purpose because he didn’t have a motive. He also said that what happened was terrible, but “nothing you do is going to fix that.”
Ultimately, the jury listened to the absurd advice that we shouldn’t find anyone guilty in court, because it can’t change the past.
As a result, the only charge Zarate was convicted of is possession of a weapon as a felon. It’s strange that the jury seems to believe the man found and picked up a gun wrapped in a t-shirt, only to accidentally shoot Steinle, yet they’ve ultimately decided he was in “possession” of the weapon.
Now, the Trump Administration’s Justice Department is considering federal charges against Zarate.
The Hill reports:
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Friday on “Fox & Friends” that the department is considering federal charges against Zarate.
“We’re looking at every option and we will prosecute this to the fullest extent available under the law because these cases are tragic and entirely preventable,” Sarah Isgur Flores, the DOJ Director of Public Affairs, said.
Flores said that the department is looking at other cases to determine what charges they would pursue, but possibilities include felony reentry and violating supervised release […]
“This is a person who had been deported five times and kept returning … he knew about their sanctuary policies. This is a person who never should have been on that pier, and Kate Steinle would still be alive today if he hadn’t been.”
There was obviously no reason Zarate should have remained in this country. Yet he kept returning, again and again, illegally, to seek the “sanctuary” of San Francisco, which he knew wouldn’t enforce immigration laws.
President Trump called the verdict “disgraceful,” and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the policies of sanctuary cities like San Francisco are to blame.
The Hill continues:
“When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk,” Sessions said in a statement after the verdict.
Seeing as how Steinle’s killer got off without so much as a manslaughter or assault conviction, it seems immigration laws aren’t the only laws San Francisco’s justice system ignores.