San Francisco Art Gallery Owner Arrested After Hosing Down Homeless Woman
Water Hose
Jos Gmez/EyeEm/GettyImages

A San Francisco art gallery owner hosed down a homeless woman whom he said refused to move from his storefront, had turned over garbage cans, and become belligerent, prompting the city to arrest him and charge him with battery.

Collier Gwin, the owner of Foster Gwin art gallery, sprayed the homeless woman on January 9. When interviewed after a video of the incident went viral, he said, “I totally understand what an awful thing that is to do, but I also understand what an awful thing it is to leave her on the streets,” adding that repeated attempts had been made to help the woman for weeks before the incident.

“I said, ‘You have to move, I cannot clean the street, move down,’” Gwin told The San Francisco Chronicle. “She starts screaming belligerent things, spitting, yelling at me. At that point, she was so out of control … I spray her with the hose and say, ‘Move, move. I will help you.’”

“I’ve been here for 40 years,” he told a San Francisco resident. “We have tons of homeless. But they haven’t been in a situation where they get that violent [within] 10 days of the neighborhood trying to do something. We have been able to get them taken to a shelter, which they leave immediately.”

“I’ve listened to her talk to the people and saying, ‘No, this is the way I want to live. My idea of cleanliness is not your idea of cleanliness,’” the resident replied.

“That’s fine, as long as she knows what she’s saying,” Gwin responded.

“We called the police; there must be 25 calls on record,” Gwin said later. “It’s two days in a homeless shelter’ it’s two days in jail, and then they drop them back off on the street. This woman is — it’s a very, very sad situation, and she’s very psychotic.”

“I find it hard to apologize when we’ve had no help with this situation,” he concluded.

ABC News Bay Area reported that multiple people in the area of the art gallery described the woman as a “nuisance.”

Following the incident, community and religious leaders, including San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins attended an event to discuss the fallout, and Gwin’s store was vandalized. Gwin offered an apology for the initial incident, saying, “There’s a breaking point. I have the video to constantly remind me that this is a large cross to bear.”

“Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions,” Jenkins declared.

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