During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump invoked Kate Steinle’s name on more than one occasion to demonize the undocumented community. In July 2015, undocumented immigrant José Inés García Zarate accidentally killed Steinle in San Francisco. Her death was used to reinforce the importance of dismantling sanctuary cities, that is, those places that don’t turn over undocumented immigrants to immigration officials. For Trump, her name became a rallying cry.
On Thursday, a jury found García not guilty of murder charges. The man – whose previous deportations Trump homed in on – fired a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun, though he maintained that it was not intentional. The jury’s job was to decide whether this was the case.
Prosecutors argued that García fired off the gun into a crowd as he played his own “secret version of Russian roulette.” However, his lawyers argued that he found a wrapped gun, and as he tried to remove the cloth, it accidentally discharged, according to CNN. The bullet pierced Steinle’s lower back, and García ran away after the gun fired off.
This polarizing case is sure to incite negative reactions from both President Trump and those who oppose immigration. Already on Twitter, people are using this moment to disparage the undocumented community.