SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – UPDATE: The city attorneys office has issued a statement regarding the criticized release of Austin James Vincent. It reveals that Judge Christine Van Aken was not presented with the surveillance video during Tuesday’s arraignment, despite it being in the DA’s possession. New proceedings occurred today where Vincent was ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor in lieu of the new information. You can read the full statement below.
A judge ordered the homeless man who was caught on video attacking a woman outside of her San Francisco condo complex to wear an ankle monitor while out of jail.
“So I want to be clear I did not see that video at the time of the arraignment,” the judge said.
The suspect, 25-year-old Austin James Vincent, was not in court Friday, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christine Van Aken waived his appearance.
Judge Van Aken said since Vincent has been in complete compliance with her orders, he may stay out of jail but will need to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
Her orders for Vincent include checking into a drug treatment program, checking in with the Sheriff’s Department and getting some form of housing through the sheriff’s program.
The judge also said when she released Vincent earlier this week, she had not seen the video of the violent attack.
She said she went to dinner that night after releasing him and saw the video on television.
“When I saw the video…I was frankly alarmed at the level of violence that I saw on the video,” Judge Van Aken said. “I take public safety very seriously.”
The judge is still allowing Vincent to remain out of jail since he does not have a violent criminal history and has been in complete compliance with her orders.
People are outraged that he is free to roam the streets after what he was seen doing in the now-viral video.
It was early Sunday morning when Paneez Kosarian was attacked by Vincent as she tried to enter her condo building on Beale Street.
Vincent was arrested and charged with the attack, but fear turned into outrage when Judge Van Aken decided to release him, pending his next court hearing Friday morning.
Now criticism of that decision continues to grow from people, including Mayor London Breed.
Vincent’s public defender has released a statement to KRON4 saying Vincent has no prior violent offenses, and drug use was not noted in the police report.
The attorney continued to say by all accounts, this appears to have been a young man having a mental health crisis who has now been heavily charged.
He said after four days of custody, the judge made the sound decision to release Vincent under conditions of assertive case management in order to provide him the services he needs.
Now the San Francisco Police Association is calling for Judge Van Aken to be reassigned to traffic court – calling her “a catastrophe of a criminal judge.”
Judge Van Aken’s term ends in 2020, when she is scheduled to go before voters for re-election.
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