May 31, 2023

SF gallery owner Collier Gwin arrested for spraying homeless woman with hose in San Francisco

SF gallery owner Collier Gwin arrested for spraying homeless woman with hose in San Francisco


A downtown San Francisco art gallery owner was taken into custody Wednesday after cell phone video showed him intentionally spraying a homeless woman with a hose, prompting outrage and condemnation.

An arrest warrant was issued for Collier Gwin Wednesday for misdemeanor battery, San Francisco District Attorney Brook Jenkins announced in a statement.

CBS San Francisco captured footage of Gwin being taken into custody Wednesday afternoon near his gallery.

“The alleged battery of an unhoused member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions,” Jenkins said in her statement.

The incident occurred on Jan. 9, according to the DA’s office. The video, which was posted to social media, showed a man spraying a homeless woman with water for several seconds while she was lying on the sidewalk.

In an interview with CBS San Francisco last week, Gwin admitted to being the man in the video. Gwin is the owner of the Foster Gwin Gallery in the city’s Financial District, according to CBS San Francisco, and the incident occurred steps away from his gallery.

San Francisco art gallery owner arrested, charged for spraying homeless woman with hose
Collier Gwin speaks to CBS San Francisco. 

CBS San Francisco

“What they saw is very regrettable,” he told CBS San Francisco last week. “I feel awful, not just because I want to get out of trouble, or something like that, but because I’d put a tremendous amount of effort into helping this woman.”

Speaking to reporters on Jan. 13, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the incident reminded her of how civil rights protesters were treated in the 1960s.

“When I saw it, all I can think about is what happened during the civil rights movement,” Breed said. “This is sadly, at a time when African Americans were fighting for our rights to be considered equal in this country. Even at that time law enforcement and others used water hoses to stop protesters. And it just kind of takes us back, unfortunately, to that time. And no other human being should be able to do that to any other human being, period. As far as I’m concerned, it’s assault.”

If convicted as charged, Gwin faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine, the DA’s office said.

Since the video went viral, the victim has been receiving assistance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, according to CBS San Francisco.  

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