A San Francisco jury which found an illegal immigrant not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Kate Steinle has set off a fresh firestorm of recrimination from archconservatives, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who in 2015 first sensationalized the case of Jose Garcia’s killing of the white victim by calling Garcia, a 45-year-old who reportedly has a second-grade education, “this animal that shot that … beautiful woman.”
At the time, Trump also turned the killing into a reason for building a border wall and for criticizing so-called “sanctuary cities.” Even Hillary Clinton complained about sanctuary cities, saying “we’ve deported, we’ve deported, we’ve deported but he ends back up in our country, and I think the city made a mistake.” Likewise, even Americans sympathetic to immigrants expressed dismay that Garcia had been released from detention by local authorities shortly before Steinle’s killing.
But now, with Garcia’s November 30 stinging exoneration on all but a lesser weapons charge (the defense said Garcia found the gun, it discharged accidentally and ricocheted), Trump and his cohorts have unleashed a new tirade. “The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7-time felon,” the president tweeted December 1, failing to say that not mentioning a defendant’s history of offenses is a hallmark of the U.S. criminal trial system.
Trump lambasted the jury’s decision as “disgraceful” and “a complete travesty of justice,” throwing in, “BUILD THE WALL!” Similarly, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemned San Francisco’s decision to “protect criminal aliens,” omitting mention that Garcia’s felonies were nonviolent – for example, re-entry into the country and possession of $US20 worth of marijuana. And neither politician mentioned that after Steinle’s death, San Francisco amended its sanctuary-city law.