SF Man Recorded Turning Hose on Homeless Woman

Collier Gwin could face assault charge
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2023 12:27 PM CST

A man filmed hosing down a homeless woman on the streets of San Francisco initially told KGO that he found it "hard to apologize." Indeed, he suggested to the San Francisco Chronicle that he'd do it again. A video of Monday's incident quickly went viral, with viewers appalled by the treatment of the woman, who cried out and tried to shield herself as the man sprayed water at her with a hose. But Collier Gwin, the man in the footage who owns an art gallery on the street, tells the Chronicle that the woman seated on the sidewalk "did not move when she was told by the police, by the paramedics, by the social services that she needed to move"—so "if she got wet when that was happening, it was because she was there getting wet."

The San Francisco Police Department says they had instructed the woman to move earlier in the day, and she had complied, per the Chronicle. She apparently made her way back by the early afternoon, which is when the hosing took place. Arash Ghanadan, who owns the Barbarossa Lounge in front of which the woman was seated, says he and other business owners have repeatedly called police and social services to seek help for the woman, who sometimes blocks access to the businesses. Nonetheless, he condemns Gwin's treatment of the woman.

Gwin, for his part, has continued to insist she "refused to move" as the street was being washed, then "started screaming profanities and becoming very belligerent." He has, however, since walked back his refusal to apologize, telling KPIX he's "very, very sorry" and can't defend his reaction. He also says he apologized directly to the woman.

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Tyler Kyser of the Coalition on Homelessness notes "staying dry is the most important thing [unhoused] people have to do to avoid hypothermia," making this "a direct attack on this woman's life." In a statement to the Chronicle, police said officers responded to a "possible assault" but Gwin and the woman "declined further police action" and the woman was "provided multiple service options." San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin later said police were "soliciting witness statements to ensure this man is charged," per CBS News. (More San Francisco stories.)

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