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San Francisco art gallery owner draws backlash after video shows him hosing down homeless woman

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The owner of an art gallery in San Francisco has drawn sharp criticism after being filmed reportedly hosing down a homeless woman who was sitting in front of his business.

The video shows a man spraying a woman who appears to be homeless. The man is heard repeatedly telling the screaming woman to “move” as he sprays her.

The owner was identified as Collier Gwin, who owns and operates Foster Gwin Gallery. He has since responded to the incident, apologizing for his “regrettable” actions but also noting that the woman has been driving away his customers and needs “psychiatric help.”

“What they saw is very regrettable. 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 on the street,” Gwin said in an interview with KPIX.

He said that the woman in question frequently knocks over trash cans and that her behavior scares off customers. He added that he has repeatedly tried to get the woman professional help and has contacted San Francisco police about the incident but nothing has been done.

“I’m very, very sorry, I’m not going to defend myself, I’m not going to, because I can’t defend that,” he said. “I said she needs psychiatric help. You can tell, she’s pulling her hair, she’s screaming, she’s talking in tongues, you can’t understand anything she says, she’s throwing food everywhere.”  

“I’ve been down here 40 years. I’ve seen tons of homeless people, we’ve helped the ones that we could, and I have not had any issues with people,” he said, adding that he has became “very upset” recently, complaining that “the city could not help, and their hands are tied too.”

The SF Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing was among those to criticize Gwin.

“This was an awful act, especially toward someone so vulnerable. There is no place for this kind of violence and hatred in our city,” the organization told KPIX 5.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin went even further, calling for Gwin to face charges.

“Ended today’s @sfbos mtg to see this unconscionable assault. @SFPDCentral is compiling a full police report & soliciting witness statements to ensure this man is charged. My office is well acquainted w/ the victim + have been trying for many months to get her support from @SF_DPH,” Peskin wrote on Twitter alongside a clip of the incident, adding in the thread that many people act like the woman does because they have experienced trauma in their lives.

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