SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A business in San Francisco is getting some misdirected hate after a man was filmed spraying water on a woman who appears to be homeless in front of the establishment. The problem is, the man, though the owner of a nearby business, isn’t affiliated with them.
A video shot by another business owner shows a man using a hose to spray a strong stream of water onto a woman sitting on the sidewalk. The woman appears to be homeless, and as she screams he continues to spray her.
The man then points down the street and commands, “Move,” multiple times. He then asks, “Are you gonna move?” before the video ends.
The San Francisco Police Department says that just after noon on Monday, officers were called to the location after receiving reports of a possible assault. Officers met with a man who they identified as a suspect in an altercation with a woman. Both parties then reportedly declined to pursue police action.
SFPD says that the San Francisco Street Crisis response team was also called to the scene to provide support services to the woman. Officers filed a police report to document the incident.
The San Francisco Chronicle identified the man with the hose as Collier Gwin, owner of the Foster Gwin Art Gallery in San Francisco. He said he called police and social services and told the woman to move before she allegedly threw trash cans and yelled back.
Gwin stands by his actions, telling the Chronicle, “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.”
Users on social media criticized Gwin for what he did, especially against a woman who appears to be homeless. Someone shattered the glass of his front door on Tuesday. Many users also took to social media to criticize local business Barbarossa Lounge, which can be seen in the video behind Gwin.
The owners of Barbarossa Lounge clarified in a statement that they do not condone Gwin’s behavior. “Barbarossa is in no way connected to the inhumane actions portrayed on the video,” the statement reads.
The video was taken by Edson Garcia, an employee of the cafe next door, who said he started recording when he heard the woman scream as he sat in traffic on his way to work.
Garcia and others in the area said they have seen the woman sitting in that spot for the past few weeks refusing help and wanting to be left alone. Barbarossa’s owners called San Francisco social services in an attempt to help the woman.
The Department of Homelessness and Housing says business owners should call 3-1-1 in cases where the unhoused may be blocking entrances. The Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) then will then make contact and offer the person information on available services.
Coalition on Homelessness executive director Jennifer Friedenbach explains the process requires more resources to function as intended.
“Ideally, what would happen is that they would be assigned an intensive case manager. Unfortunately, there’s thousands of people on the waitlist. The other thing that needs to happen is we need to make sure once people are in treatment, that they are stabilized in housing that’s appropriate for their need,” she said.
Friedenbach confirms this woman in the video was offered to go to a congregate shelter, but she says that is not appropriate for a person who might be severely ill and disruptive. San Francisco Board President Aaron Peskin tweeted, “My office is well-acquainted w/ the victim and have been trying for many months to get her support from (The San Francisco Department of Public Health).”
DPH has not commented on this story.