A woman who was assaulted by a homeless and apparently unstable man Saturday night outside her building in SoMa is outraged after the suspect was released from jail on his own recognizance by a judge.
The entire incident was caught on camera and you can see it below. Early Sunday morning, San Francisco resident Paneez Kosarian was blocked from entering her building, The Watermark near Beale and Bryant, by a man who said he wanted to get in to kill the lobby security guard. The female guard, he said, was a dangerous robot, and he asked to be let in so that he could earn Kosarian's trust. When she tried to get past him, he accosted her, pulled her to the ground, and battled with her to get through the door. According to a neighbor, he also tried to take Kosarian's wallet and phone.
Now, as KPIX reports, the suspect whom the SFPD arrested shortly thereafter, around 2 a.m. Sunday, has been released, and Kosarian says the city and the judge in the case have failed her.
25-year-old Austin James Vincent was booked into county jail and charged with two felony counts of false imprisonment and attempted robbery and two misdemeanor counts of battery. But on Wednesday morning, he was released pending trial in September, and given an order to stay at least 100 feet away from Kosarian's building.
As she tells KPIX, "So pretty much I am a prisoner in my own house. I’m terrified of leaving my own house while this man roams our streets freely."
Vincent was released against the recommendation of the District Attorney's Office, which believes Vincent poses a threat to public safety. At his arraignment on Monday, as the Chronicle reports, Vincent pleaded not guilty.
Kosarian suggests to KPIX that Vincent was under the influence of some substance or substances, and his booking photo presents a range of possibilities.
Public defender Saleem Belbahri, who is representing Vincent, tells the Chronicle, "The court determined that Mr. Vincent was not a threat to public safety, and he was released under restrictive conditions that require him to report to Assertive Case Management, which can assess his mental health needs and assist him in navigating the complex legal process ahead."
Meanwhile, the case has caught the attention of the group that is fighting to stop the construction of a homeless Navigation Center nearby on the Embarcadero. PR spokesperson for the group, Sam Singer, tells SFist, "It’s very concerning to the [Safe Embarcadero for All group]... as they believe [the Navigation Center] creates additional dangers on top of the current homeless, mentally ill/drug abuse transient situation in S.F. and their neighborhood."
Update: Mayor London Breed issued a statement on the case saying, "This is a terrible incident and any assault like this in our City is disturbing. I think the court’s decision to release him while he awaits trial was clearly wrong." And District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney said he was "outraged" by the situation and says that the victim has his "full support."