Things That Matter

A Jury Has Found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate Not Guilty Of Murder In The Death Of Kate Steinle

The undocumented immigrant from Mexico who was charged with the fatal shooting of a young woman in San Francisco has been acquitted of murder, manslaughter and assault with a firearm by a jury.

On July 1, 2015, 29-year-old Kate Steinle was killed by a gunshot while walking on Pier 41 in San Francisco with her father and a friend. The bullet struck her in the back.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, was accused of the deadly shooting, and after a five-week trial and six days of deliberation was only found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

While Zarate never denied that he fired the gun, he maintained that the death of Steinle was a result of an accidental discharge. He claimed to have found the gun wrapped in cloth, and when he picked it up to inspect it, the weapon went off. According to The New York Times, evidence that exonerated Zarate proved that he did not fire at Steinle directly. Rather, the bullet ricocheted off of an object before striking Steinle, establishing there was no intent to murder.

The case became a major point of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigration platform, who used Steinle’s death as reasoning to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“For anyone that would question the outcome in this case, this jury was deliberating for six days,” Jeff Adachi, the San Francisco public defender, told The New York Times. “There was a tremendous amount of misinformation that was spread about this case from Day 1. You had then-candidate Trump espousing that this was an intentional shooting.”

According to CNN, Zarate’s attorney, Matt Gonzalez, claimed that Zarate found the gun at the pier wrapped in a cloth. It was when he unwrapped the gun that it fired the bullet that hit Steinle.

President Trump took to Twitter when the verdict was delivered, calling it “disgraceful” and using the decision to renew his call for a border wall.

While a sentencing date has not been established, Zarate’s conviction comes with a maximum sentence of three years in prison. He has served more than two years while awaiting trial, though it’s unclear as of yet if that time will be credited to his sentence. CNN reports that Zarate will be deported to Mexico either before of after his sentencing.

(H/T: The New York Times, CNN)


READ: Activists In San Francisco And Los Angeles Stop Traffic To Protest Immigration Raids

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Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

Things That Matter

Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

John Piekos / Flickr

Hackers attempted to steal $4 million from the Puerto Rican government using a common phishing scam. The scams referred to as business email compromises, target public and private entities every year on the U.S. mainland. Here’s what we know so far.

A hacker attempted to steal millions of dollars from the Puerto Rican government.

Credit: @DavidBegnaud / Twitter

According to reports, hackers were able to infiltrate various agencies in the Puerto Rican government through phishing emails. The hackers attempted to access $4 million dollars by targeting Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company and the Tourism Company.

The Industrial Development Company sent around $2.6 million while the Tourism Company wired over $1.5 million. According to the AP, the agencies received emails from a fraudulent employee claiming there was a change of bank accounts.

Federal officials say they were about to freeze the money to prevent loss to Puerto Rico.

David Begnaud of CBS News took to Twitter to update people on the latest developments. According to Begnaud’s conversation with federal authorities, the hackers had not received the money from Puerto Rico and they were able to freeze it. They are working to send the money back to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is not the only victim in a phishing crime. During the same time as the hacking of Puerto Rico, a school district in Manor, Texas lost $2.3 million and another $800,000 were stolen from officials in Griffin, Georgia. More than 23,000 of these scams stole $1.7 billion from businesses and agencies in the U.S. mainland last year. The FBI was able to recover around $300 million.

The news is surprising people on social media.

Credit: @MilagsCon / Twitter

Corruption in Puerto Rico’s government has been a topic of discussion since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Puerto Rico was recently devastated by a series of earthquakes while still recovering from the 2017 hurricane that devastated the island. Missing relief funds and misplaced supplies have angered Puerto Ricans in recent months as it comes to light.

This latest financial and security shortcoming of Puerto Rico’s government is not helping its reputation.

Credit: @J_Fort47 / Twitter

Puerto Ricans have been showing their displeasure with the elected officials on the island for years. Recently, Puerto Ricans protested and marched until Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his office. The former governor was caught in a group chat scandal in which he made derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community and women. There were also allegations of corruption and misuse of funds within his admi9nistration that led to a series of investigations.

READ: The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

Things That Matter

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.