Every time you think this story can’t get worse for the city of San Francisco, it gets worse. Last week I wrote about Paneez Kosarian, a woman who was violently attacked by a deranged homeless man outside of her apartment building. A judge later released the man responsible, Austin James Vincent, as part of a pretrial diversion program, a decision which didn’t sit well with Kosarian who asked a local news channel last week, “What is it preventing him from getting high and attacking someone else?” It turns out that was a very sensible question and today we learned the answer. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Vincent is now a suspect in several other incidents involving violent threats against women, one involving a knife:
Investigators are looking into whether Austin James Vincent may be involved in two other criminal cases after victims came forward and said they recognized the 25-year-old’s mugshot publicized last week…
The new warrant for Vincent was obtained in connection with an alleged assault that occurred near Fourth and Brannan streets on Feb. 4. According to police, Vincent was armed with a knife when he approached an unnamed woman and several of her friends as they waited for a ride-hailing service.
Vincent allegedly made a threat to kill the woman and advanced on the group. The victims ran to their ride-hailing vehicle and left the city.
Police were called to the scene of that attack but the victims had fled and the attacker was nowhere to be found, so the case never developed. However, after the attack on Paneez Ksoarian received media attention, one of the victims recognized Vincent’s mug shot on television and called the police to identify him as the man with the knife. ABC7 News reports police are also now investigating two other incidents that may involve Vincent:
SFPD also began investigations in separate incidents in the Central and Southern Police Districts to determine if Vincent was involved. The victims in these cases also came forward after seeing Vincent’s booking photo following his August 11 arrest.
The Chronicle story claims that once Vincent became a suspect in another attack, police began tracking him with an ankle monitor. In the very last paragraph, the story mentions that Vincent didn’t have an ankle monitor when he was released last week. After he was arrested last Sunday morning, he was charged with false imprisonment, battery, and attempted robbery. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and, over the objection of prosecutors, the judge put him into a pretrial diversion program rather than sending him to jail. He was released last Wednesday with the promise that he would check-in regularly with a case manager and show up for his subsequent court appointments. But he did not have an ankle monitor.
Paneez Kosarian thought Vincent’s release was absurd given the violence of his attack (see below). She tweeted the surveillance video of the incident to Gov. Gavin Newsom and, when asked about it the same day, Mayor London Breed said she thought the judge had made a mistake. The San Francisco Police Officers Association recommended the judge be reassigned to traffic court.
Coincidentally, on the same day this backlash was building, the judge says she happened to see the video of the attack on Kosarian on the news. She suddenly realized how violent Vincent had been and revised her decision to include an ankle monitor so authorities could keep tabs on Vincent before his trial. Last Friday, several reports suggested Vincent would be fitted with the monitor on Monday, i.e. today. So it’s not entirely clear how police were able to start tracking his ankle monitor when, supposedly, it hadn’t been put on him yet.
In any case, the real story here is San Francisco judge Christine Van Aken who released a violent drug addict with no permanent address and only added an ankle monitor after the victim complained publicly to the Governor on Twitter. Now we learn the suspect may have threatened or attacked several other women before this. It’s fortunate that no one was seriously injured while the bumbling San Fran justice system did the bare minimum to protect the innocent from a deranged drug addict.
Vincent did surrender himself this morning and I’d like to think it’s a given that he’ll be going to jail this time, but I suppose it’s possible another San Francisco judge could release him. We’ll have to wait and see. Here’s video of Vincent turning himself in this morning:
Austin Vincent, the man accused of attacking a woman as she tried to enter her #SanFrancisco condo building, is expected to surrender to SFPD on a $100K arrest warrant in connection to an assault in Feb. Police say the victim in this second case recognized Vincent on the news pic.twitter.com/IqKOQFzRLn
— Jobina Fortson (@JobinaFortson) August 19, 2019
And here’s Kosarian’s tweet to the Governor which includes the video of her attack:
@GavinNewsom Please watch this video of me getting attacked at my front door less than 72-hrs ago. 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!! #savesf pic.twitter.com/XGzmtSLQpP
— Paneez Kosarianfard (@paneezkosarian) August 15, 2019