Ex-fire commissioner Don Carmignani, who was allegedly struck with a metal rod by a homeless person — and has now been publicly accused of vigilante behavior possibly responsible for eight other assaults against homeless people in the Marina — failed to show up Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.
It was the second time Carmignani missed a court date to determine whether there is sufficient evidence against Garrett Doty, the homeless person who allegedly struck the former fire official multiple times on April 5, breaking his jaw and requiring two surgeries.
The hearing will now take place on May 23, and Doty was released from custody today.
“Carmignani was unable to be in court today, based on the severity of his injuries,” said Michele Brass, the prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office in charge of the case.
She acknowledged in court on Wednesday that Carmignani had given a press interview, but explained that this interview had taken place in his home, where he could take breaks to take medication and rest his jaw, which was broken in the attack.
A press statement from the DA’s office states that “Mr. Carmignani has not provided an interview to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) on this case, despite multiple requests for an interview.” A statement would have allowed the case against Doty to move forward today without Carmignani being physically present in court.
Police body camera footage from the April 5 incident captures Carmignani telling his girlfriend, “don’t say nothing to nobody, don’t say nothing to the cops,” according to Kleigh Hathaway, the public defender representing Doty.
“We are hopeful that he is available to testify in open court, as he has now given an on-camera media interview about the attack from his recollection,” the DA’s statement continues.
Hathaway said that she wants the case against Doty “dismissed as soon as possible. She has a “strong suspicion” that Carmignani was the perpetrator of the previous attacks, and that Doty was acting in self-defense. She says that footage of the April 5 incident shows Doty covering his face with his jacket prior to the attack, demonstrating belief that he was going to be bear-sprayed by Carmignani.
“I don’t foresee the complaining witness coming to court,” said Hathaway, after the hearing was moved to May 23. Doty is now a free man, with an order to stay away from Carmignani and to stay off Magnolia Street, where Carmignani lives and where the attack occurred.
A press release from the DA’s office states that “this case requires the victim’s testimony.”
“We’ll see what the future holds,” said Judge Loretta Giorgi.