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Mayor Breed, Others Weigh In On Swift Release Of San Francisco Assault Suspect

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- There was more fallout Thurday surrounding the quick release from custody of the suspect arrested in the Sunday morning attack on a woman outside her home near the Embarcadero.

The suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Austin James Vincent, was taken into custody near the Embarcadero around 2 a.m. Sunday after allegedly assaulting San Francisco resident Paneez Kosarian outside the lobby of her condo building known as the Watermark. The building is located near Beale and Bryant Streets.

The release of Vincent Wednesday morning, the decision of the judge presiding over the case, has sparked widespread frustration from the local community to City Hall to the District Attorney's office.

Late Thursday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association called for the reassignment of the judge in the case. The group's statement read, in part:

"Judge Christine Van Aken's continued tenure overseeing criminal cases is a danger to every law-abiding resident of San Francisco. Her reckless decision to release Austin James Vincent from custody after his video- taped violent assault on Paneez Kosarian validates our call for the presiding judge to reassign Van Aken to traffic court."

Mayor London Breed also commented on the case Thursday.

"You know, we have a number of people who unfortunately I'm mentally ill or cycling in and out of our jails and hospitals," Mayor Breed said at an event in the Bayview.

She also expressed her dissatisfaction with the judge's decision.

"This is not going to do anything for that person, and who knows what might happen moving forward and what you might do to someone else," said Breed.

The mayor also reiterated her calls for stronger conservatorship laws and more beds for those suffering drug and mental health crises.

In another development Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom responded to a Wednesday night tweet from the victim of the attack.

Speaking in San Francisco the Governor said he did not know any specifics about the case, but he said her fears and frustrations reflected "more broadly what I hear when I come back into the city."

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