SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The San Francisco Sheriff on Monday briefly touched on the controversial verdict in the trial of an undocumented immigrant who admitted to shooting Kate Steinle for the first time.
Last week’s acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate sparked outrage from Steinle family members and politicians.
On Thursday afternoon, the jury found Garcia Zarate not guilty of all charges except for a gun possession charge after the shooting death of Kate Steinle in 2015.
Steinle was walking with her father at Pier 14 in July 2015 when she was shot and killed.
Garcia Zarate had been released from jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal authorities to detain him for deportation.
While there were a number of topics that Sheriff Vicki Hennessy could not or would not comment on, she did discuss the possibility of Garcia Zarate ending up on San Francisco streets once again.
“I don’t want to comment on it. I mean, it’s 12H and 12I of our administrative code. The fact is that, yes, under the circumstances that we have in this case, he would be potentially let out,” said Hennessy. “However, in this case, we have what we’ve always asked for from the federal government, which is a criminal warrant.”
The sheriff additionally would not comment about what the case means for the future of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, citing the currently pending lawsuit regarding the policy.
“I can’t because I’m a principal in the lawsuit and I can’t comment on that anyway,” said Hennessy.
Public defenders say the felony gun possession charge carries a possible sentence that ranges between 16 months to three years.