Former SF fire commissioner beaten with metal rod goes before judge in preliminary hearing
SAN FRANCISCO - The former San Francisco fire commissioner who was beaten with a metal rod by a homeless man told his side of the story in court on Wednesday for the first time.
Video of the attack circulated widely on social media following the April 5 incident. Donald Carmignani, the former commissioner, described the beating for the first time in court saying he was "screaming I'm not fighting. The only thing I remember is him screaming die mother [expletive], die!"
In court, Carmignani told the judge that he had asked a group of people he said were using drugs in front of his parents' Marina District home that morning to leave. When he asked a man he identified as the suspect in the case, Garret Doty, 24, to leave, Carmignani says he was subjected to a brutal beating to his head, shoulders and chest that left him hospitalized.
Doty's defense attorney, Kleigh Hathaway, says Carmignani was known by her client to use bear spray on homeless people, so her client acted to protect himself.
In court, she accused Carmignani of being the aggressor and pointedly asked if he pulled out the can of bear spray and directed a stream at the defendant. She also asked if Carmignani had been coached to say, "I don't recall," by his attorney in response to questions that could make him look like the aggressor.
Carmignani, under the advice of his personal attorney who was inside the courtroom, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid making incriminating statements when the defense team asked if he had ever used bear spray.
The preliminary hearing was repeatedly delayed because Carmignani did not show up to previous court hearings.
The judge will now rule if there is enough evidence for this case to move forward with a trial.