San Francisco

Woman's Attacker at SF Embarcadero Condos Released From Custody

The man arrested in the Monday morning attack of a woman outside her condominium building in San Francisco's Embarcadero was released from custody and was not required to wear a monitoring device.

The assault by transient Austin James Vincent, 25, was captured on the building's security camera early Monday morning as the woman was entering her building to return home.

Austin James Vincent

The victim, Paneez Kosarian, now is fearing for her safety and is calling for the recall of Judge Christine Van Aken over the decision to release Vincent.

"This man attacked me at my front door as I was going back home, and despite this graphic footage, judge Christine Van Aken let the man go free. no address, no ankle monitor!!," Kosarian wrote on her Twitter account Thursday. "This is the real jungle. Justice isn't served here."

In a tweet tagging Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown, she wrote that Van Aken "is not fit for this job and is putting all of our lives in danger. What are you waiting for? Please, you have to do something. #recallchristinevanaken."

Kosarian got support Thursday from the San Francisco Police Officers Association, which released a letter from its president, Tony Montoya, calling for Van Aken to be demoted traffic court.

"Judge Christine Van Aken released Vincent on Wednesday morning without bail and without electronic monitoring," the SFPOA said in a news release.

The surveillance video shows the 1:40 a.m. attack at the Watermark condos on Beale Street, just a stone's throw from a planned navigation center that some neighbors say would promote crime.

Some now are using the video as further proof that a proposed navigation center for the homeless in that very neighborhood is a bad idea.

Kosarian said Vincent was trying to get into the Watermark condos, but they wouldn't let him in. Vincent knocked her phone out of her hand and pulled her to the ground. He was ranting about saving her from the robots, she said.

During the struggle, a security guard intervened and helped Kassarian get inside while keeping Vincent out. 

"The first time I thought I was safe, but I wasn’t; he came in with us," she said. "But the second time, the moment when we closed the door, and we were safe, that feeling of I’m safe and I survived after fighting for so long is irreversible."

Police said Vincent has no city of residence on record. 

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office charged Vincent with false imprisonment, attempted robbery and two counts of battery, according to a spokesman. Vincent entered a not guilty plea when he was arraigned
Tuesday. The court ultimately released Vincent "on assertive case management," a spokesman said.

Supervisor Matt Haney spoke about the attack Tuesday.

"I believe strongly that our neighborhoods and residents are safer when we implement effective accountability for crimes and ensure robust services and treatment for those who require it," Haney said.

One of the issues raised by opponents of the homeless center is the police response time. They say it was 35 minutes. Police say it was 3 minutes.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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