Judge has public safety concerns after seeing video of woman attacked in San Francisco

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Monday, August 19, 2019
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Judge Christine Van Aken saying she saw the video of Austin James Vincent attacking Paneez Kosarian at her condo complex Sunday and was "alarmed."

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The story of a homeless man caught on camera attacking a San Francisco woman became more complicated after several bombshells were dropped in court Friday morning.

Judge Christine Van Aken says she saw the video of Austin James Vincent attacking Paneez Kosarian at her condo complex Sunday and was "alarmed."

VIDEO: Woman attacked in front of home by man believed to be homeless

Kosarian says the District Attorney's office informed her that the judge had seen the video. Friday morning in court, we learned that was not the case.

The judge said "because of what I saw in the video, I have additional public safety concerns. Incarceration is not the answer for folks with mental illness and substance abuse problems in all cases."

Judge Van Aken ordered Vincent be outfitted with an ankle monitor because of his mental illness and remain free and under supervision at temporary housing for those in the criminal justice system.

Kosarian continues to be perplexed by some of the decisions in handling the case.

"It doesn't make it better that he went on without anything for a day and a half. This decision should have been the decision she made, and as a judge, you don't get a second chance. This was her second chance to make it better."

Raymond Sullivan is another San Francisco resident who says he was attacked by a homeless person a year and a half ago.

RELATED: Judge recommends SF attack suspect wear ankle monitor while out of jail

"I'm dealing with PTSD from these attacks."

In his case, the suspect was put in a facility, then released, only to harass and attack him and neighbors over and over again.

He showed ABC7 News a manila envelope and plastic bag stuffed full of restraining orders and police reports from him and nearby community members.

"I think we need to look at the effectiveness of the way the DA is handling it. "

Saleem Belvahri, Deputy Public Defender, says Vincent is "in a program right now."

When we asked the DA's office later in the afternoon where Vincent was, we were told "under supervision," but they would not tell us where or with whom.

Late Friday afternoon, City Attorney Dennis Herrera provided a statement to ABC7 News, stating the DA's office should have provided the surveillance video to Judge Van Aken in the first place and called the judge a "tireless champion of the people of San Francisco for years."

Kosarian says she's heard from numerous people who say they have been attacked by homeless people in the city as well. She says she continues to speak out in order to make change for everyone in the city.