SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A white nationalist group set up a memorial for Kate Steinle near where she was shot at Pier 14, just one of several impassioned reactions to the not guilty verdict in the trial of the illegal immigrant who shot her.
The group, called Identity Evropa, decorated the memorial with flowers, candles, and messages that read “Build the wall” and that Steinle’s death “will be avenged” after a jury acquitted an undocumented immigrant of her killing.
The group posted about the memorial through its Twitter account late Thursday night and Friday morning, calling for a boycott of San Francisco and saying the acquittal was “an indictment of not only San Francisco but our country overall.”
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate – a man who had previously been deported five times – was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter with the verdict handed down by the jury Thursday afternoon. He was only found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Friday morning, the White House released a statement, saying in part, “Had San Francisco enforced our nation’s immigration laws, the Steinle family would be celebrating this holiday with all of their loved ones.”
Thursday evening, President Trump took to Twitter to decry the verdict. After the jury’s decision was announced, the president tweeted the verdict was “disgraceful.”
Friday morning, he continued to criticize the verdict on Twitter.
Some people walking along the Embarcadero paused for a moment at Pier 14 to look at the memorial. Those who work and live in San Francisco were still trying to come to terms with the jury’s decision.
“It feels like the verdict could have been harsher,” said Pleasanton resident Lisa Thordsen. “That’s something else to look at. But that’s for our politicians to look at as well and how they handle cases like that. Someone may have dropped the ball on the prosecution side.”
“Looking at it and the gun powder, that part right there is kind of what gave me doubt of the intent,” said Kristin Kboy of San Francisco.
The decision made those KPIX 5 talked to put themselves in the jurors’ shoes.
“I wasn’t sitting in the juror box. I imagine those people are having deep thoughts over their coffees this morning,” said Thordsen.
Garcia Zarate is back in court on December 14th. That is when his sentencing date will be announced.