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Gallery owner Collier Gwin in San Francisco police custody for spraying homeless woman with hose

Gallery owner Collier Gwin in San Francisco police custody for spraying homeless woman with hose
Gallery owner Collier Gwin in San Francisco police custody for spraying homeless woman with hose 02:39

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gallery owner Collier Gwin was taken into police custody Wednesday after the San Francisco DA's Office issued an arrest warrant for misdemeanor battery in connection with him spraying an unhoused woman with a hose last week.

Officers arrived at Gwin's business on Montgomery Street in Jackson Square around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Officers escorted Gwin peacefully to the back of a patrol car. 

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office sent out a press release and DA Brooke Jenkins tweeted about the warrant Wednesday afternoon. According to authorities, Gwin will be "charged with misdemeanor battery for the alleged intentional and unlawful spraying of water on and around a woman experiencing homelessness on January 9, 2022."  

A viral video of Gwin spraying the woman with a hose sparked widespread outrage last week. Since the uproar over the incident, Gwin has issued multiple apologies.     

"What they saw is very regrettable," Gwin told KPIX in an interview. "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."

 "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.

Gwin paid $2,500 bail and was out of police custody by Wednesday evening. He is currently scheduled to make his first court appearance on Feb. 17.

The DA's office said if convicted, Gwin faces up to six months in county jail and a $2,000 fine.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday said the incident reminded her of how police treated civil rights protesters during the 1960s.  

"The alleged battery of an unhoused member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions," the SF District Attorney's Office release read.  

The release also noted that "the vandalism at Foster Gwin gallery is also completely unacceptable and must stop – two wrongs don't make a right."

UPDATE: Chief Scott assures San Francisco police are investigating hosing incident outside gallery

Gwin has lived in San Francisco for 45 years. He said this confrontation was the result of multiple attempts to get the woman help, after he spent days cleaning up her mess and letting her sleep in his doorway. He added that she often knocks over trash cans, and her behavior has scared off his clients.  

Gwin said he and other business owners in the area have called SFPD and social services more than two dozen times in the last two weeks. 

ALSO READ: Video shows San Francisco gallery owner spraying homeless woman with hose

"I said she needs psychiatric help," Gwin said. "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."  

Gwin said on Monday, he'd had enough. 

"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. "But in this case, I was very upset, that the city could not help, and their hands are tied too."  

Since the incident, the woman has started receiving assistance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.  

Reverend Amos Brown, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP feels Collier Gwin doesn't deserve to be charged criminally. Brown personally connected with Gwin and received an apology.  

"Mr. Gwin admitted his wrong, he admitted it to me personally and I accepted," said Brown.

Brown added the City of San Francisco needs to take the blame for this situation between a business owner and a member of the unhoused community escalating to this level. 

"I think that this city has been negligent, has played too much politics around this issue of the unhoused," said Brown.

In Brown's opinion, it's not an option to leave the unhoused on the streets without addressing mental health or drug addiction issues. He says it's going to take a community approach and hopes the incident captured on this video will motivate the community to do better. 

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