SAN FRANCISCO—A homeless man who attacked a woman outside her apartment over the weekend was released from jail despite prosecutors concerns.
The incident transpired in the Embarcadero Beale and Bryant Streets between 1:30 and 1:40 a.m. in February 2019. The victim, Paneez Kosarian, was assaulted by Austin James Vincent outside the lobby of her apartment building The Watermark. The San Francisco Police Department was contacted and detained by police at 2:07 a.m. on August 11.
Security footage from the building’s lobby shows Kosarian approaching her building then being thrown to the ground by Vincent.
Vincent, armed with a knife, made a threat to kill and advanced on the victim and her friends. The victims ran to their rideshare vehicle and eventually left the City. SFPD officers responded to the scene but were unable to locate any of the involved parties.
Following the incident, he was charged with false imprisonment and attempted robbery and two misdemeanor counts of battery, pleading not guilty to all charges.
The San Francisco District Attorney, Dennis Herrera, released the following statement:
“What happened to Ms. Kosarian is terrifying. That shouldn’t happen to anybody, and she is understandably angry about the legal process immediately following her attack. Facts matter though. Judge Van Aken had to make a decision at the arraignment based solely on the information presented to her in court. That is the law. We now know from today’s court proceeding that the District Attorneys’ Office had video of this attack at the time of arraignment and did not provide that key piece of evidence to the judge. That is information that should’ve been before the judge so she could weigh all of the facts in this case. A picture says a thousand words. I’m pleased Judge Van Aken has ordered the District Attorney’s Office to provide her with the video evidence they have, and that in light of this new information she has ordered a GPS ankle monitor for the defendant.
That said, the rush to judgment here and the desire to pillory an outstanding officer of the court is unsettling. Judge Van Aken has been a tireless champion of the people of San Francisco for years. As an attorney, she was instrumental in securing marriage equality, successfully defending the city from the Trump administration’s unconstitutional overreach, and beating the NRA. No one is more faithful to the facts and the law than Christine Van Aken. It’s disappointing that so many were quick to criticize her without knowing all of the facts.”
The warrant was obtained in connection with an aggravated assault that occurred near 4th and Brannan Streets on the afternoon of February 4, 2019.
Vincent is expected to surrender to authorities on Monday, August 19 on a $100,000 warrant. Anyone with information or anyone who may have been accosted by Vincent is asked to call the SFPD 24 hour tip line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.
Written By Kayla Lupoli and Donald Roberts