Man Acquitted In Kate Steinle Killing Faces Federal Gun And Immigration Charges

07 Décembre, 2017, 02:59 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Man Acquitted In Kate Steinle Killing Faces Federal Gun And Immigration Charges

A federal grand jury has indicted the undocumented immigrant who was acquitted last week of murder and manslaughter charges in the case of Kate Steinle.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted him on Tuesday on one count each of felon in possession of a firearm and of "being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States" in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to the indictment.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the jury's decision was "hard to receive".

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in a federal prison, according to the Department of Justice.

The case became a flashpoint in arguments on illegal immigration when it was learned that Zarate had been released from jail prior to the shooting under a "sanctuary city" policy, instead of being handed over to immigration authorities for deportation.

Garcia-Zarate's public defenders said the shooting was accidental, that the gun went off unintentionally after Garcia-Zarate found it wrapped in a rag beneath a bench.

The Justice Department indictment makes no mention of the state's murder or manslaughter charges of which Zarate was acquitted.

Jurors left court last week without speaking publicly about their verdict and Gascon said they have not spoken with prosecutors either.

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Steinle, 32, was fatally shot on San Francisco's Pier 14 on July 1, 2015.

Garcia-Zarate is not yet represented by counsel.

The case also caught the attention of presidential candidate Donald Trump previous year, who used it to highlight crime committed by undocumented immigrants during his campaign.

That case drew national attention after then-candidate Donald Trump raised it as a justification for his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

San Francisco prohibits city law enforcement officers from asking about immigration status or detaining people exclusively on the basis of civil immigration detainers after they are eligible for release.

Steinle's shooting touched off a national political debate about Sanctuary City policies, which limit cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration authorities.

However critics have argued they encourage crime, and the current administration has made several attempts to punish Sanctuary City jurisdictions by withholding federal grant funds.

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