Man Who Hosed Homeless Woman: San Francisco Is Broken

Collier Gwin says what he did was wrong, but officials need to do something about the city
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 2:15 AM CDT

The San Francisco gallery owner who was recorded hosing down a homeless woman camped out on the sidewalk and later charged with battery over the incident is speaking out. In a piece at the Wall Street Journal, Collier Gwin admits he lost his temper and shouldn't have sprayed the woman—but, he says, the video of the incident doesn't capture "the frustration and helplessness of my neighbors and me," nor his "anger at what the city has become." The "mentally ill" woman had, he explains, left "an unsanitary mess" in front of his art gallery, not for the first time, then refused to move so he could clean it up. This after reports of her stealing things, defecating, and performing sex acts on herself in front of nearby businesses, and screaming and spitting at people on the street.

San Francisco officials, he says, aren't doing anything to help when incidents like this arise. "For weeks we had done the right thing. We called the police and social services 50 times over 25 days—exactly as instructed by Mayor London Breed. Everyone who showed up told us they couldn't move the woman, no matter what she was doing to herself and the community," he writes. "Does anyone realize how dire the situation is in San Francisco?" He says that, likely only because of the media attention, the woman was eventually taken to a hospital, but she's reportedly now back on the streets. He now realizes "most of the efforts of the police and social services—not to mention the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on homelessness—are wasted. Ordinary people aren't equipped to deal with these types of problems." Read his full piece here. (More San Francisco stories.)

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