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San Francisco homeless man, acquitted in Carmignani case, suspected of assaulting man with guitar

Garret Doty walks down the steps outside the Hall of Justice.
Garret Doty outside the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Doty was arrested Sunday on suspicion of assaulting a man with a guitar, police said. | Source: Benjamin Fanjoy for The Standard

A San Francisco homeless man who was at the center of the Don Carmignani assault case before being found not guilty is now suspected of hitting a man with a guitar in the Marina District.

Garrett Doty, 25, was arrested by San Francisco police Sunday around 9:41 p.m. near Chestnut and Buchanan streets after police were called to the area for a report of an assault with a guitar.

Around 20 minutes earlier, officers responded to Lombard Street between Laguna and Buchanan streets regarding a fight between two subjects who were armed with screwdrivers. Police identified Doty as one of the men involved in the earlier incident.

When officers arrived, they spoke to both parties and determined an altercation between the two subjects occurred. Both parties declined to press charges.

Doty was later booked into San Francisco County Jail at 2:22 a.m. Monday for assault with a deadly weapon and is still in custody as of publication time.

Last year, Doty was at the center of a high-profile criminal case where he was charged with three counts of assault and battery for repeatedly striking former fire commissioner Carmignani, 54, with a metal pipe on April 5.

Doty was found not guilty on all charges in December after it came to light that a man matching Carmignani's description allegedly bear-sprayed multiple homeless people in the Marina District. Carmignani denied he was responsible for the attacks.

Fomer SFFD Commissioner Don Carmignani, wearing a face mask, walks through the hallways of the Hall of Justice in San Francisco.
Former Fire Commissioner Don Carmignani walks through the hallways of the Hall of Justice at Superior Court in San Francisco on Dec. 11, 2023. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

"At this moment, we are very limited in what we can discuss, as Mr. Doty has not been formally charged," Kleigh Hathaway, who previously served as Doty's public defender, said in an email. "If he is arraigned on any charges in the coming days, we expect to be appointed to represent him and may be able to say more as we learn more."

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com