Sheriff Mims reacts to Steinle verdict as state sanctuary law looms

An undocumented immigrant is acquitted of murder

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - We have reaction to the Kate Steinle verdict from Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. ICE agents have monitored the entry and exit of arrested undocumented immigrants since June 22, 2015. Just eight days before Kate Steinle was shot and killed. 

Minutes after jurors found Jose Garcia Zarate not guilty in the death of Kate Steinle. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims spoke about SB-54. The law set to take effect in 2018 which will restrict California law enforcement officials from contacting federal agents about undocumented inmates depending on specific crimes and convictions.

"I'm really more concerned about the fallout with the state legislature trying to tell local law enforcement which members of federal law enforcement they can talk to and which they can't," said Mims.

54-year-old Garcia Zarate was deported five times before being accused of shooting 32-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. The defense argued the shooting was a freak accident with evidence of the bullet ricocheting and hitting Steinle.

"There was nothing intended in his actions they could point to that says he either intended to kill or he accidentally killed," said legal analyst Charles Magill.

Steinle's death sparked political debate over immigration and sanctuary cities.

"Another victim is Kate Steinle. Gunned down in the sanctuary city of San Francisco," said Donald Trump during his campaign.

"I think that was the biggest lie that then-candidate Trump used you know to boost his campaign. That this was an intentional killing by a quote illegal immigrant who was running amuck," said Garcia Zarate's defense attorney Jeff Adachi.

Sheriff Mims says the unintended consequence of California as a sanctuary state is ICE executing sweeps of neighborhoods to find undocumented immigrants.

"And that's going to raise community concerns to a level that's very unnecessary," said Mims.

Our legal analyst says Garcia Zarate could face up to three years in prison for possession of a firearm.

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