In another alarming development in the escalating homeless crisis in San Francisco, a judge let a homeless man shown violently attacking a young woman in security video back onto the streets within just 72 hours of the shocking incident. In response, the victim released the surveillance footage of the assault on Twitter and directed her post to California’s progressive Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. The disturbing sequence of events has prompted a response from both Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed — one rather vague and one quite specific.
The incident took place early Sunday morning outside the Watermak apartment complex where Paneez Kosarian lives. Kosarian was allegedly approached by Austin James Vincent, a 25-year-old homeless man, who began to say at first strange, then increasingly threatening things.
“Kosarian was attempting to get into the building, which is located near Beale and Bryant Streets by the Embarcadero, when Vincent refused to let her inside without him and told her everyone is a robot and he is the last human on earth,” San Francisco’s KRON 4 reports. When he allegedly asked her to hand over her wallet and cell phone, which she refused, she tried to get into the door of her apartment complex. That’s when she says he assaulted her — an attack caught on security cameras.
“Arrested at the scene, Vincent was arraigned on Tuesday after entering a plea of not guilty to charges of false imprisonment, attempted robbery and two counts of battery and was released,” the outlet reports.
HotAir’s John Sexton notes that police were reportedly called about Vincent before the alleged assault, but, since it was just a loitering call, didn’t consider it a priority. Officers arrived about a half-hour after the attack.
Despite the seriousnes of the charges, and the available evidence, the suspect was released within less than 72 hours by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christine Van Aken, who simply asked him to “report to a caseworker on condition of his release,” KRON 4 notes.
That prompted Kosarian to take action. On Wednesday, she posted video evidence of the terrifying assault and made sure to direct the post to Newsom.
“[Gov. Newsom,] Please watch this video of me getting attacked at my front door less than 72-hrs ago,” she wrote in the post that included video of the violent assault. “The man who attacked me was released this morning because the judge, Christine Van Aken believes that this man is not a danger to our community. PLEASE SAVE OUR CITY!!”
Kosarian also called for answers from former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and demanded that Newsom “recall” judge Van Aken. “I need answers!! [Gov. Brown and Gov. Newsom] recall judge Christine Van Aken, she is not fit for this job and is putting all of our lives in danger. What are you waiting for? Please, you have to do something.”
In comments reported by KRON 4, both Newsom and Breed responded to the situation during an an event Thursday focused on affordable housing for teachers and public safety workers.
Newsom kept his comments rather vague, saying only that the alleged attack was “a very serious issue” and that it “goes to the core” of people’s safety concerns. “It goes to the core of people wanting to live in a city as spectacular as [San Francisco] — and that foundation is safety,” he said.
Breed, on the other hand, specifically called out Judge Van Aken and declared Vincent a clear “danger to society.” “I think it’s really unfortunate what happened,” said the mayor. “I think the judge, unfortunately, made a huge mistake. [The homeless] person is a danger to society.”