Community in Crisis

San Francisco group calls for halting homeless shelter amid viral attack


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A now viral surveillance video of a women being attacked by a homeless man outside of her apartment is raising discussion about a proposed homeless shelter near the scene of the incident.

Safe Embarcadero for All, an organization of local businesses and neighbors, is calling on city leaders to voluntarily hold off on the proposed navigation center until a court rules on a filed temporary restraining order.

The proposed center is planned to be built on a 2.5 acre parcel of land across from Piers 30-32, mere steps from the Watermark apartment where the attack occurred.

Wallace Lee, a board member of the organization, asserts that crime, car break-ins, and homeless encampments have increased in the area since the center has been proposed.

This violent, vicious and horrifying attack is all too real,” Lee said. “We call upon the mayor, our District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney to halt it now. We believe it is the right thing for the city to do to stop its plans because of the public danger that already exists to women, seniors, parents and children.”

Lee also says that the neighborhood group is shocked by the attack and subsequent release of Austin James Vincent, the man identified in the incident, and claims that it shows a lack of understanding by local officials.

“[The victim] is a tough person and was fortunate to be able to fight off the attack by what appears to be a deranged homeless man,” Lee said. “But look at how the city has handled the situation. It shows a lack of understanding of how dangerous our streets and homes have become because of the city’s failure to address the homeless problem properly.”

People took to social media earlier this week to voice their uproar when San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christine Van Aken decided to release Vincent until his court dates.

The decision has drawn criticism from California Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed who called the ruling a “mistake,” and the San Francisco Police Officers Association, who called for the reassigning of Aken to traffic court.

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