California Homeless Man Found Not Guilty After Allegedly Attacking Former San Francisco Fire Commissioner

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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A 25-year-old homeless man was found not guilty Friday after allegedly attacking a former San Francisco fire commissioner, according to Fox News. 

The homeless man, Garret Doty, was accused of beating former fire commissioner Donald Carmignani, 54, with a metal pipe in early April. Doty was later charged with two counts of assault and one count of battery, according to Fox News. (RELATED: ‘Pretty F*ckin’ Easy Here’: Homeless San Francisco Man Boasts About Having Amazon Prime, Netflix)

Following reports and a video of the altercation which surfaced, Doty’s public defender, Kleigh Hathaway, claimed the reaction from the homeless man was in self-defense, accusing Carmignani of attacking Doty first. Hathaway claimed the former fire commissioner previously sprayed Doty with bear spray and “threatened to stab and kill” him, according to a press release from the public defense.

“From the beginning, it was clear to me that Mr. Doty was acting in self defense against Mr. Carmignani, who not only had the audacity to attack Mr. Doty with bear spray and then threatened to stab and kill Mr. Doty, but also presented himself as unwilling to back down from a fight that he had started,” Hathaway stated. 

“Self-defense can be fierce because the brain goes into survival mode, and that fear response is sadly heightened for unhoused people, like Mr. Doty, who live in constant exposure.”

Carmignani, however, had claimed that prior to being struck by Doty, he had asked the homeless man to move away from the entryway of his mother’s home, according to KRON4. (RELATED: Dem Official Blames San Francisco Homelessness On ‘Capitalism’)

“Three homeless individuals had set up an encampment. My mother did not feel safe leaving her home. Neither SFPD nor any of the city’s various homeless service providers responded to our 911 calls,” Carmignani wrote, the outlet reported.

Public defenders claimed the video which was widely reported allegedly did not show “how the altercation began,” according to the press statement. Carmignani allegedly had first gone after Doty with bear spray and threatened to “kill him if he didn’t move his belongings in two hours.”

Doty then allegedly attempted to move, arming himself with a metal rod he found in a garbage bin “for protection,” public defenders claimed. The former fire commissioner allegedly returned 15 minutes later, when he reportedly “stood against a building and baited” the homeless man before he allegedly sprayed him again before the altercation shown in the video began.

Carmignani reportedly suffered a fractured skull and broken jaw in the attack, receiving 51 stitches, according to Fox News. 

The former fire commissioner abstained from testifying in Doty’s trial but did speak during the preliminary hearing, notably invoking the Fifth Amendment when questioned about the prior use of pepper or bear spray, according to the press release.

Carmignani previously claimed that, prior to the altercation, both he and his mother had called the local police noting their concern for the encampment in front of his mother’s home, Fox News reported. The former fire commissioner alleged the group of homeless people, including Doty, had made “repeated threats of violence” towards his family, according to the outlet.

“As a native San Franciscan and lifelong Marina District resident, I firmly believe that the city needs to promote the safety of its law-abiding citizens over those who chose to do drugs and commit violent acts in our streets,” Carmignani stated, according to Fox News. “I am hopeful that this unfortunate incident will lead to policy changes to better protect the interests of San Francisco residents and that my attackers will be fully prosecuted.”