The public defender representing the homeless man accused of beating ex-fire commissioner Don Carmignani with a metal rod insinuated in court today that Carmignani was potentially a Marina District vigilante responsible for eight previous pepper-spray attacks on homeless people between November, 2021, and January, 2023, all within four blocks of his residence.
Garrett Allen Doty purportedly beat Carmignani on April 5, severely injuring him and landing the former commissioner in the hospital. That attack, however, allegedly came only after Carmignani purportedly bear-sprayed Doty.
Police sources in mid-April told Mission Local about the series of prior attacks on homeless people in the neighborhood, which we published on April 13.
Carmignani’s attorney denied that the vigilante behind the spate of anti-homeless attacks was his client.
The prior attacks on homeless people were perpetrated by a roughly six-foot-tall white man, weighing between 200 to 300 pounds, with gray/brown hair. The victims were homeless people asleep on the street, in tents, or sitting on benches.
An attack from Nov. 6, 2021, which took place on Magnolia Street, where Carmignani lives, shows the attacker spraying a sleeping person, “focusing on the victim’s face for at least a few seconds,” according to Kleigh Hathaway, the public defender representing Doty.
Police reports list the weapon used in the attacks as a “large” can of pepper spray, similar to the 10-inch can of bear spray, which is more concentrated than pepper spray, which Carmignani allegedly used on Doty on April 5. Police reports of previous assaults also included comments from the attacker such as “Get the fuck out of my town,” “Get out of here,” and “This is my fucking neighborhood.”
According to Hathaway, a witness to the altercation between Doty and Carmignani attests that Carmignani told Doty, “I’m going to stab you,” “I’m going to kill you,” and “Get out of here.”
If the suspect behind the attacks is, indeed, Carmignani, it would be the second prominent incident in San Francisco this month in which an overriding narrative has been upended by subsequent facts.
After the killing of Bob Lee on April 4, a spate of voices, nationally and internationally, decried street crime as the force behind the killing — and, despite statistical evidence to the contrary, claimed violent crime in San Francisco was on the rise. The April 13 arrest of Nima Momeni, an acquaintance of Lee’s and fellow tech entrepreneur, quieted those voices.
Carmignani’s beating, which came just one day after Lee’s killing, was immediately seized upon as yet another sign of San Francisco’s increasing violence and lawlessness. Then came accusations that Carmignani maced Doty prior to the beating — and then came today’s courtroom allegations, that he may have been behind earlier attacks on homeless people in the Marina.
Carmignani did not appear in court this morning, pushing to tomorrow the preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence for the district attorney to proceed with a case against Doty — contrary to earlier reports that the DA’s office has dropped charges.
The DA failed to subpoena Carmignani, saying that they thought he was not fit to appear in court because of the attack, despite having given interviews to multiple media outlets.
“We thought he was too ill to come in, but we’ve learned that he can, in fact, testify,” said prosecutor Michele Brass.
It was revealed today that Carmignani has not provided statements to the District Attorney’s Office or the police department. Hathaway said that body camera footage from the April 5 incident captured Carmignani telling his girlfriend: “Don’t say nothing to nobody, don’t say nothing to the cops.”
The hearing will take place tomorrow. Valerie Ibarra, a spokesperson for the Public Defender’s Office, said that, even if Carmignani fails to appear in court tomorrow, the DA could still proceed with the case.