In a surprising turn of events, Garrett Doty, the 25-year-old unhoused man accused of brutally attacking former San Francisco fire commissioner Donald Carmignani with a metal pipe back in the spring, has been found not guilty on all charges.
The widely-reported incident, which occurred on April 5 near Magnolia and Laguna streets in San Francisco's Marina District, left Carmignani with a fractured skull, broken jaw, and multiple lacerations to his face and head, not to mention added flames to fire of SF’s “doom loop” narrative. But shortly after the news broke, more details emerged about the case: Carmignani had an alleged history of aggressive behavior toward unhoused individuals.
Those allegations apparently came out in court: Doty alleged that the former fire commissioner had, on multiple occasions, used bear spray to target homeless people in the area, per KTVU. Carmignani’s lawyer reportedly denied this on his behalf, but he failed to appear to testify and defend himself in the case, as we previously reported. As the Chronicle reported, his lawyers did not want him to testify on the stand. He had even reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination during a prior preliminary hearing when questioned about the sprayings.
Doty faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury, and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, per the Chronicle. Despite the severity of Carmignani's injuries, the jury reportedly ruled in favor of Doty, accepting his claim of self-defense.
The defense reportedly argued that Carmignani's aggressive behavior and refusal to testify undermined the credibility of the prosecution's case. Reportedly, a crucial piece of evidence was a surveillance video showing Carmignani approaching Doty first. A witness also reported hearing Carmignani threaten to stab and kill Doty, because he was near Carmignani’s parents’ home.
In another twist, Carmignani's ex-mother-in-law reportedly testified under subpoena in May 2023, supporting Doty's claim that the former fire commissioner had used bear spray on unhoused individuals multiple times.
But still, some SF residents had supported what they called Carmignani's "vigilante" justice at the time. Others called out the aggression against the homeless population. But now that the case is over, will it still be a right-wing talking point?
Feature image via Unsplash/Carson Masterson.