A San Francisco gallery owner with A-list clients was selectively apologetic after previous attempts at “helping” a homeless woman resulted in him being caught on video in an alleged “clear-cut case of battery” with a water hose.
Collier Gwin is the owner of the Foster Gwin Gallery located in the Financial District of San Francisco, California. Having boasted clients like actor and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and investment banker David Rockefeller in the past, Gwin may have trouble with upper-crust connections in the near future after he was filmed spraying a homeless woman outside his business amid temperatures recorded around 49 degrees.
“I said you have to move, I cannot clean the street; move down,” the gallery owner told the San Francisco Chronicle after a video of his spraying her with water was viewed millions of times. “She starts screaming belligerent things, spitting, yelling at me… At that point she was so out of control… I spray her with the hose and say move, move. I will help you.”
The video had been captured by Edson Garcia, a chef at the Brioche Cafe, who explained to the Chronicle, “I was shocked. I know that lady.”
Similar reactions were offered across social media.
Cold hearted prick !! Hope he gets taste of his own medicine soon
— ravinder singh (@RaviSinghKA) January 10, 2023
As someone who is very exhausted with the homeless crazies of both California and NYC… this is truly disgusting. You don’t treat humans like this ever.
— SOLOMON RAY (@solomonraymusic) January 11, 2023
— GNSInc (@TheGNSInc) January 11, 2023
Backlash from the video also hit Barbarossa Lounge, the restaurant that shares the lot with Gwin’s gallery which could be seen behind him, leading viewers to believe he was associated.
“It’s been a hard time for our business in the past three years with a pandemic. We barely survived that and now our reputation is being ruined by a video that everyone is falsely assuming relates to our business,” Barbarossa Lounge owner Arash Ghanadan told the Daily Mail.
“We are extremely disappointed in this individual’s behavior and in no way support such actions. We have been informed that further formal and media investigation is underway,” he added.
Meanwhile, in speaking with the Chronicle, Fresno attorney Sally Vecchiarelli was reported as calling the incident a “clear-cut case of battery” and said “Any attempt at a defense is futile, given that we have a recording of the event. We can hear her protests and most telling, his statements after spraying the women, ‘Hey, just move, move!’ as he points in another direction. His words and actions after spraying the woman show his intent was to make her move, and his spraying the water is comparable to him pushing her.”
Police responded to the possible assault and “met with a male suspect and a female victim who were involved in a dispute,” but “further police action” was declined.
In his defense, Gwin said to the Chronicle he had been courteous and even helpful to the woman in the past calling social services to see about getting her aid and allowing her to sleep in his entryway for several days. He admitted, “You know spraying her’s not the solution, but spraying here was something that woke her up, and that calmed her down. So am I sorry? I’m only sorry that…my way of helping her countlessly has gotten nothing done.”
San Francisco is just one of many major cities with out-of-control homeless population growth with the latest reported figure accounting for nearly 8,000.
As it happens, the gallery’s website describes the collection as “carefully selected examples” of the San Francisco Art Institute’s abstract expressionism. “The SF school as it has come to be known flourished in San Francisco’s ‘live and let live’ atmosphere.”
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