What a Bloody San Francisco Street Brawl Tells Us About the Age of Citizen Surveillance

But when Hathaway took on Doty’s case, she quickly learned other things about Carmignani. Ten years ago, he was arrested for domestic violence involving his then-wife, forcing him to resign from the fire commission after just a few months. (He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault.) So when Hathaway saw Carmignani demanding silence from his girlfriend, she thought, “Yeah, maybe this guy has something to hide.”

Doty has pleaded not guilty to charges of battery and assault. Then, in late April, on the eve of his preliminary hearing, prosecutors sent Hathaway a new batch of evidence, including a continuous sequence of footage from the laundromat camera. For the first time, Hathaway watched Carmignani’s initial approach to Doty, which took place nine minutes before the start time of the clip that Carmignani’s attorney had released.

This old clip started with Doty ripping a pole out of a trash can. In the new footage, Carmignani, wearing a Covid face mask, walks past a jumble of objects on the sidewalk and pulls a large black cartridge from his pocket, the thumb trigger on top. A few seconds later, Doty, with his red hat, rushes into the frame with a jacket pulled over his head. As they face each other, Carmignani walks towards Doty, who quickly turns his back and walks away. Carmignani follows him. There’s no sound, but the body language is telling: Doty is defensive.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

The next surprise Hathaway encountered in the new batch of evidence was a set of police reports, detailing eight crimes committed over the previous year and a half. Each time, a suspect approached homeless people on the sidewalks of the Marina and sprayed them with pepper spray. In the first case, in November 2021, there was even video evidence, from a Ring camera, directly on Magnolia Street. When Hathaway played the clip, she saw a bulky guy approach a man lying on the sidewalk and spray him for a full five seconds, carefully aiming the chemical agent – designed to cause pain, burns and temporary blindness – on the victim’s face. and head as he turns and stands up. “I was like What ? What?!” Hathaway remembers. “It focuses on the victim’s face. It’s so disgusting.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

Hathaway reviewed the 2021 sprayer: a Covid face mask, a surefooted and bulky, a baseball cap. Then she looked at Carmignani as he approached Doty on April 5 – sure-footed, bulky, face mask, baseball cap. “I was like, Jesus, it’s Carmignani. As if that was exactly how he worked. (In the press, Carmignani’s lawyer denied that it was him.)

In some of the other sprayings, witness statements leaned toward a roughly similar scenario. A white man in his 50s, riding a bicycle, asked if an unhoused man needed help before pepper-spraying, kicking and punching him. A white man, 6’1″ tall and approximately 220 pounds, with short, light brown hair, wearing a gray beanie, unzipped a man’s tent and struck him with a 10-inch canister , warning him, “Get out of my town.” A white man, 40 to 50 years old, with grayish hair, sprayed Ashley Buck and an unhoused man. In other spraying attacks, descriptions of the suspects were younger: one involved a white or Hispanic man in his 30s riding a gray bicycle, and another was a white man in his 30s riding a skateboard.

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