The 2015 death of Kathryn Steinle created a furor over undocumented immigration and sanctuary cities. That’s because the man accused of her murder, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, is an undocumented Mexican National. He had been jailed and deported several times, but was then homeless on the streets of San Francisco — in part because of the city’s sanctuary policies. Then presidential-candidate Donald Trump and right-wing media got involved, using the tragedy to advance a nativist narrative of dangerous immigrants flooding over the border. Now, over two years later a jury has found Garcia Zarate not guilty of Steinle’s murder.

In this episode of Q’ed Up we go back over the case, dig into the surprising verdict,  and examine how a death on a downtown pier became a political lightning rod.

The Verdict: A Killing on a San Francisco Pier 6 December,2017Sandhya Dirks


Sandhya Dirks

Sandhya Dirks is the East Bay enterprise reporter at KQED, focusing on stories about equity, identity, culture and the changing city.

Prior to joining KQED in 2015, Sandhya covered the 2012 presidential election from the swing state of Iowa for Iowa Public Radio. And at KPBS in San Diego, she broke the story of a sexual harassment scandal that led to the resignation of then-mayor.

She got her start in radio working on  documentaries about Oakland that focused on the high drop-out rate in public schools and mistrust between the police and the community. Her work on “The Drop Out Dilemma” won the Sigma Delta Chi Award Award for radio documentary.

Sandhya is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, where she won a Patsy Pulitzer Preston Documentary Fellowship for her investigative film about international adoption. She’s reported for NPR, Latino USA, and PRI’s The World, and she’s taught audio story-telling at Mills College in Oakland.

Sandhya lives in Oakland with her two cats.

You can contact her with story ideas and comments at Follow her on twitter: @sandhyadirks.

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