A memorial to Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old Bay Area woman shot and killed while on a walk with her dad, has been removed by the city of San Francisco, and the reason why is a stunner.
On Thursday, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was found not guilty of murder and involuntary manslaughter in Steinle’s killing. Instead, the jury only found him guilty on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Garcia Zarate, a seven-time felon and five-time deportee, was in the U.S. illegally.
People brought flowers, cards and other items to the Steinle memorial, which sprang up around a bench on the pier where she was killed.
But now, the shrine has been removed.
And the people asking for its removal are the biggest surprise.
CBS San Francisco reported that Steinle’s parents asked for the shrine’s removal. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's spokeswoman Deirdre Hussey said:
The Steinle family placed a request with the Mayor’s Office for the bench to remain as it was intended — a simple memorial in recognition of Kate and her spirit.
But the reason isn’t simply because the family wants to leave Steinle’s bench unadorned.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the reason is because a self-described “alt-right” group was responsible for putting it up:
About 50 candles, along with red and white roses, were seen Friday where Steinle was shot and killed, following the conclusion of the trial where her alleged shooter was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges.
The memorial had ties to a self-proclaimed “alt-right” group, who appeared to have started the shrine to Steinle.
The political group Identity Evropa put up a poster and lit candles at her bench:
Identity Evropa members paid a visit to the site of #KateSteinle's murder to honor her memory.
— IDENTITY EVROPA (@IdentityEvropa) December 1, 2017
The notes on the poster that became part of the memorial said “build the wall” and Steinle’s death “will be avenged.”
— Tiago Rocha (@Tiago_R_Valle) December 4, 2017
“Lucid Hurricane” saw politics all over the decision to remove the memorial:
#BREAKING San Francisco has removed the memorial for #KateSteinle because it was a “hate shrine”. We cannot even honor a dead White girl unless she is believed to have been killed by a White man, Then you can have a MASSIVE candlelight vigil & Memorial like done for #HeatherHeyer pic.twitter.com/TKuogyTVFQ
— Lucid Hurricane ✘ (@XLucidHurricane) December 3, 2017
“Top Blog Sites” thought it was odd to yank the memorial no matter who put it up:
RETWEET THIS in memory of #KateSteinle, murdered by an illegal Mexican felon, acquitted by an anti-Trump San Francisco jury!
— Top Blog Sites (@TopInfoBlogs) December 3, 2017
CBS San Francisco reported that the memorial had been in violation of city policy:
Officials told the Examiner that the memorial violated city policy. San Francisco typically removes memorials within 10 days of the victim’s funeral service. Steinle’s funeral took place in 2015.
The group also called for a boycott of the city of San Francisco.