The family of Kate Steinle reportedly asked San Francisco to remove a small memorial that was set up Friday at Pier 14 in memory of their daughter after its ties to a self-proclaimed “alt-right” group were discovered.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the makeshift memorial—which was located where Steinle was shot-- consisted of about 50 candles and flowers. The family had expressed concerns that her death was being politicized, The San Francisco Examiner reported.
“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,” Deirdre Hussey, a mayoral spokeswoman, said in a statement to The Examiner. “However, we do have a city policy in place in regards to active memorials that Public Works enforced.”
The memorial started to grow after a San Francisco jury acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who has been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was shot.
Before the shooting, he had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry to the United States and had been transferred to San Francisco's jail in March 2015 to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.
The sheriff's department released him a few days after prosecutors dropped the marijuana charge, despite a request from federal officials to detain him for deportation.
The story dominated conservative talk radio, but also had Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, saying San Francisco was wrong to let Garcia Zarate go free.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly referenced the Steinle shooting and vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities. His administration has moved to restrict funding from such cities, but judges have blocked those attempts.
Supporters of sanctuary policies say they improve public safety by allowing immigrants to cooperate with police without fear. They also say detaining people without a warrant just so immigration officials can pick them up is unconstitutional.
“Whoever put that up didn’t influence what we did, we just followed our procedure,” Rachel Gordon, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman, told The Examiner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report