Last week’s not guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle trial has brought the wingnuts out of the woodwork, with thousands or irate complaints on SF Weekly’s social media accounts. Similar anti-immigrant comments appeared in a makeshift memorial to Steinle erected at Pier 14 on Friday. But the San Francisco Examiner reports that the Kate Steinle memorial has been removed, following a request from Steinle’s family that it be taken down.
A white nationalist group called Identity Evropa took credit for putting up the shrine. You may have heard that curiously misspelled organization. The group was founded by the right-winger who punched a 95-pound woman at a Berkeley rally last April, and also had a hand in organizing August’s Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally which led to the deaths of a counterprotester and two Virginia state troopers.
Memorials are nice and all, but some of the comments written on this one were not in the typical spirit of a commemorative shrine. Handwritten comments accompanying a photo of Steinle included messages like “Build the wall,” “You’re not here because somebody who wasn’t supposed to be was,” and that Steinle’s death “will be avenged.”
The victim’s family caught wind of the memorial and asked the city to take it down. The bench at which the shooting occurred already has a plaque honoring Steinle.
“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,” Mayor Ed Lee’s spokesperson Deirdre Hussey told the Examiner. “However, we do have a city policy in place in regards to active memorials that Public Works enforced.”
San Francisco Department of Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon told the Examiner that it didn’t matter who put up the memorial, or whether the family was comfortable with it. “Whoever put that up didn’t influence what we did, we just followed our procedure,” she said.
That procedure, apparently, is that makeshift memorials on city property are allowed to remain up until ten days after the victim’s funeral service. Steinle’s funeral was held in July 2015.