Battery charge for man who sprayed homeless woman with hose

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 8:31 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 11:48 PM CST
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco art gallery owner who was recorded on video spraying a homeless woman with a water hose earlier this month was arrested Wednesday and charged with misdemeanor battery, authorities said.

Collier Gwin, the owner of Foster Gwin Gallery, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

“The alleged battery of an unhoused member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said on Twitter.

If convicted, Gwin could face up to six months in county jail and a $2,000 fine.

A voice mailbox for Foster Gwin Gallery was full and not able to take phone messages Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Gwin had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Gwin was seen on cellphone video recorded Jan. 9 blasting water from a garden hose at a homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk outside the gallery in the upscale Jackson Square neighborhood.

The video shared on social media elicited shock and condemnation. The owners of Barbarossa Lounge, a neighboring business seen in the video, released a statement denouncing Gwin’s behavior, calling it “inhumane.”

Gwin apologized Sunday in a video statement obtained by ABC 7.

“I’m deeply apologetic,” he said. “I completely broke.”

In an interview Jan. 10 with the San Francisco Chronicle, he admitted he sprayed the woman after an encounter during which, he said, she turned over garbage cans outside his gallery and refused to move.

“She starts screaming belligerent things, spitting, yelling at me,” Gwin said. “At that point she was so out of control. ... I spray her with the hose and say move, move. I will help you.”

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, whose district includes Jackson Square, called Gwin’s actions “unconscionable, it’s abuse.”

“I don’t care how frustrated somebody is, this is not the way human beings treat other human beings,” Peskin told the Chronicle.

Peskin said his office has tried to help the woman, who is known in the neighborhood.