SF Superior Court

Public defender says Marina assault victim had it coming

This morning outside of Department 20 of San Francisco Superior Court, public defender Kleigh Hathaway went on the offensive on behalf of her client Garret Doty. Doty is accused of violently assaulting former city fire commissioner Don Carmignani, who was left with a fractured skull and other injuries in the April 12 incident. Hathaway made what was in essence a claim of self defense on Doty’s behalf and directly accused Mr Carmignani of regularly assaulting homeless people.

See Part One and Part Two of the public defender’s remarks and, below, the transcript.

Part One: Public Defender Kleigh Hathaway speaks with reporters
Part Two: Public Defender Kleigh Hathaway speaks with reporters

Here is a transcript of Hathaway’s remarks:

“When I first spoke to you all I said that this was going to be a case of self defense, and that was before we knew much of what we have learned in the last 24 hours.

It’s dismaying to find that the prosecution is continuing with this prosecution in light of the fact that the district attorney and the police have now reason to believe that Mr Carmignani was involved in eight – eight – separate acts of violence. These eight seperate acts of violence where perpetrated against people who are homeless.

The District Attorney and the police gave us – the defense – yesterday these police reports because they believe these acts are related to Mr Carmignani.

I have reviewed these police reports, they date back to November of 2021, the most recent one is January of 2023. In all of them, the victims are not housed. The victims are either asleep in their tents, sitting on a bench, minding their own business. And in all of them this man who is described as 6ft, 6ft1, 280-300 pounds, grey hair, brown hair [is] very similar…matching what Mr Carmignani looks like.

These are being reported over the last two years and, fortunately, one of them was caught on video. I am working with my office currently to get that released but I can tell you that that video is shocking. That video shows a man asleep on the sidewalk, coincidentally – oh, and I wanted to say – all of these incidents happened within about four blocks of Mr Carmignani’s residence near where he lives in the Marina.

So the one that’s on video shows, on the same street where Mr Carmignani lives, it shows a man asleep on the sidewalk outside and, I would bet anything it’s Mr Carmignani, he walks up and he sprays with a massive can of brear spray – the same weapon used in the Doty incident – he sprays this bear spray at the homeless, not just passing by but focusing on the victims face for at least a few seconds and then he walks away.

So like I said I am working with my office to release that video.

I am confident that my client knew of his prior violence because I now have a video that shows the initial altercations and it show Mr Carmignani going after Mr Doty. He is making himself big  he is pursuing Mr Doty who is running away. And the first thing that Mr Doty does, when he realizes that it is Mr Carmignani coming at him, is he ducks out of the way with his cost covering his head – implying he knows and has been subjected to the violence of the bear spray in prior incidents.”

The District Attorney is maintaining the case against Doty who remains in custody until a hearing tomorrow, April 27. According to the District Attorney’s Office, they are seeking Mr Carmignani’s physical presence in court to testify, in the absence of which the defendant will be freed on his own recognizance until that can take place.

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