The owner of an art gallery seen in a viral video spraying water from a hose onto an unhoused woman is defending his actions and not apologizing.
The video was recorded by the owner of a nearby café who saw the incident and found it cruel, given the weather conditions and the woman’s compliance.
— #briochesf (@briochesf) January 9, 2023
ABC7 news anchor Dion Lim interviewed art gallery owner Collier Gwin, who admitted to spraying a homeless woman with a hose. Gwin stated that there were repeated attempts to help the woman and that nearby business owners had complained about her presence blocking the sidewalk.
He also mentioned that police reports have not been effective in addressing the issue. Gwin said that he sprayed the woman as a last resort after she refused to move and resisted help in moving her belongings. He described her as “very, very sad” and “psychotic.”
Call 311 Instead: Homeless Advocates
Methods to deter congregating have been used before in San Francisco, such as sprinklers installed in 2015 at St Mary’s Cathedral and boulders installed in 2019 by Clinton Park residents.
Homeless advocates suggest better ways to handle such situations, such as calling 311 and looking up mental health services.
The Coalition on Homelessness is working on a program to deploy specialists when requested to assist those in crisis. Advocates denounce the actions in the video as unacceptable and call for respect for the homeless community. Gwin maintains that he will not apologize despite the pressure from threats and requests for interviews. “I find it hard to apologize when we’ve had no help with the situation.”