Ex-San Francisco fire commissioner who was filmed being attacked by a gang of homeless people armed with a metal pipe speaks out to urge mayor to do more to protect residents
San Francisco’s former fire commissioner has called for the city to reform policy to better protect residents from violent crime, following his beating with a metal pipe in front of his family home on Wednesday 5 April.
In a statement shared with KRON4 Don Carmignani, 53, said that his family had engaged with his attackers before and called on the city to do more to ‘promote the safety of [the city’s] law-abiding citizens over those who chose to do drugs and commit violent acts in our streets.’
He said: ‘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.’
Cell phone footage caught the moment Carmignani was assaulted by ‘a group of homeless people’ as he was leaving his mother’s home near the Marina District. San Francisco police subsequently arrested a 24-year-old man, Gareth Doty, who faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing serious injury.
San Francisco has experienced an increase in reports of violent crime since the pandemic, rising about 8% from 2020 to 2022. While significant reductions in reports of rape and human trafficking have helped this figure, rates of robbery have grown through the start of 2023.
Carmignani – who served as a fire commissioner in 2013 – was reportedly slashed with a knife as well as having his skull fractured by the pipe
Don Carmignani was left fighting for his life in hospital after the horrifying beating on Wednesday which came just one day after Cash App founder Bob Lee was stabbed to death in San Francisco.
While leaving his mother’s home in the area of Magnolia and Laguna Street, at about 7:20pm, Carmignani was reportedly slashed with a knife and beaten ‘countless’ times in the head with the metal pipe.
Police have yet to confirm whether the man in the video is linked to the attack on Carmignani
Carmignani underwent surgery on Thursday and remained in ICU as of Friday afternoon.
His father said that he broke his jaw, required surgery to remove a piece of his skull, and has 50 stitches in his face.
Carmignani later said the attacker was a homeless person who had set up opposite his mother’s home the morning of the assault.
He said he called police that morning after seeing three in the camp, reportedly taking drugs and acting aggressively.
San Francisco has seen a violent uptick in crime, with police statistics showing the number of homicides in the city rose by 36.6 percent – from 41 to 56 – between 2019 and 2022.
Violent crimes also increased by 7.5 percent over the past three years throughout San Francisco, reverting from lows during the pandemic.
Reports counted 695 robberies between 1 January 2023 and 9 April 2023, a 9.8% rise on the same range one year prior.
Common assault also rose marginally, by 0.6%. No progress was made to lower the rate of homicide in the city.
Overall, the city has the 14th highest violent crime rate out of 23 police departments serving cities with populations over 750,000 in the US, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.
Carmignani said he was attacked by a group who had set up in front of his mother’s house
The area Carmignani said he was attacked when a camp set up opposite his mother’s home
Carmignani stressed the need for ‘policy changes’ to reverse the trend.
Catherine Stefani, who represents the Marina District, said in a statement the city needs to provide the resources law enforcement needs ‘to turn the tide on crime in this city.’
She added: ‘As I pray for Don, his family, and his recovery, I want to be very clear: we cannot tolerate this kind of criminal activity.
‘Not in the Marina, not anywhere. Everyone has the right to feel safe in San Francisco, and that means the city has to stop playing politics with public safety.’
Anyone with information on Lee’s death is asked to call San Francisco’s tip line at 1-415-575-4444.