Trump Calls Acquittal in Sanctuary City Murder `Disgraceful'

Jury finds undocumented immigrant not guilty of murder of Kate Steinle

The defendant had been freed from jail shortly before the shooting despite a federal request to hold him for deportation. Before the shooting, officials in San Francisco released Garcia Zarate from custody instead of turning him over to immigration authorities.

Without knowledge of his release, ICE officials would have to use sources and evidence to track down Lopez-Sanchez before he moves around the U.S.to possibly avoid deportation.

Zarate was accused of finding a stolen gun on using it to shoot the 32-year-old woman while she was walking with her father in 2015.

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed "Kate's Law", named for Steinle, that would increase penalties for illegal immigrants who return to the United States.

The timing and specifics of Steinle's tragic death catapulted the case into the national spotlight as a cause célèbre for then-candidate Donald Trump, who seized upon the death of "beautiful Kate", as he referred to her on the stump.

"The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens", Sessions said.

"I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers", Sessions said in a statement.

More news: Inside tour: First lady decorates White House for Christmas

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News.

Trump signed an executive order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, but a federal judge recently blocked it in a lawsuit from two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Trump has said that Steinle's death, just two weeks after he launched his presidential campaign, is emblematic of the problems in the US immigration system, particularly the continued existence of sanctuary cities where local officials refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials. He was found guilty only of possession of a firearm by a felon. The bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway and fatally struck Steinle in the back. The administration has appealed.

Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez said in his closing argument that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon, which fired when he picked it up.

San Francisco became a sanctuary city in 1989. Such cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. When he was released, ICE sent him to San Francisco on March 26, 2015, for a 1995 warrant accusing him of selling $20 worth of marijuana.

The charges were dropped the next day. "It's disconcerting", Brad Steinle told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said prosecutors were disappointed in the verdict but respected the jury's decision.

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