san francisco gallery owner who sprayed water on homeless woman in viral video has been arrested

The San Francisco gallery owner who sprayed water on a homeless woman in a video that has since gone viral, amassing millions of views, has been arrested. 

The San Francisco Police Department arrested Collier Gwin, the 71-year-old gallery owner, and charged him with Battery on Wednesday after he sprayed the homeless woman with a water hose after he claimed she became “belligerent” and “violent.” The interaction was recorded on video and has since gone viral. 

“On January 18, 2023, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Gwin was arrested on the 700 block of Montgomery Street for the warrant. Gwin was transported to the San Francisco County Jail where he was booked for the arrest warrant on the charge of battery (242 PC),” the San Francisco police said.

The arrest comes more than a week after the initial incident took place on Monday, Jan. 9, when Gwin originally came under fire after video showed him casually leaning against a gate while spraying a local homeless woman in the face and torso.

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Homeless tents and homeless people are seen by the Polk Street near the City Hall during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States.  (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

She was sitting on the sidewalk just feet away from Gwin during the incident.

The video swiftly amassed over 4.7 million views on Twitter.

Many people who responded called the interaction and Gwin’s actions “horrible” and “beyond disgusting.”

Homeless tents and homeless people are seen by the Polk Street near the City Hall during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States. 

Homeless tents and homeless people are seen by the Polk Street near the City Hall during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States.  (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Gwin later defended his actions saying he previously attempted to help the woman but she refused and then grew agitated and aggressive. 

“I’ve been here for 40 years. We have tons of homeless [people]. But they haven’t been in a situation where they get that violent [within] 10 days of the neighborhood trying to do something. We have been able to get them taken to a shelter, which they leave immediately,” Gwin told Twitter user and San Francisco resident Darren McKeeman.

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McKeeman interjected, saying: “I’ve listened to her talk to the people and say, ‘No, this is the way I want to live. My idea of cleanliness is not your idea of cleanliness.’” 

Gwin brushed the remark, simply replying, “That’s fine, as long as she knows what she’s saying.”

The gallery owner defended his action again during an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, where he said the woman “had become psychotic and was turning over garbage cans.”

Homeless tents and a homeless woman are seen near the Tenderloin District during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States. 

Homeless tents and a homeless woman are seen near the Tenderloin District during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States.  (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Homeless tents are seen near the Tenderloin District during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States. 

Homeless tents are seen near the Tenderloin District during rainy day in San Francisco on January 13, 2023, as atmospheric river storms hit California, United States.  (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“I said, ‘You have to move, I cannot clean the street, move down.’ She starts screaming belligerent things, spitting, yelling at me,” Gwin told the paper. “At that point, she was so out of control… I spray her with the hose and say, ‘Move, move. I will help you.’”

Their conversation was recorded and uploaded to social media, where it amassed over 1.2 million views.

Gwin has since apologized, according to FOX 2 San Francisco. He said, “I’m totally sorry that I reacted where I tried to move her and did so in a way that was not the right way.”

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The San Francisco police said it initially responded to the scene at the 700 block of Montgomery Street following calls of a possible assault.

“Officers arrived on scene and met with a male suspect, identified as 71-year-old Shannon Collier Gwin of San Francisco, and an adult female victim who were involved in a dispute. Officers interviewed both parties, who declined further police action at that time,” the police said in a statement.

The statement added: “The San Francisco Street Crisis Response Team responded to the scene and provided multiple service options to the victim. Officers authored a police report documenting the incident.”    

And “SFPD Investigators took over the investigation and developed probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Gwin.”  

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins issued the arrest warrant following the police department’s investigation and review of the incident, she revealed on Twitter.

“The alleged battery of an unhoused member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions,” she wrote.

A photo of San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

A photo of San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. (Twitter/Brooke Jenkins)

Jenkins also referenced the backlash Gwin’s business has received, adding: “Likewise, the vandalism at Foster Gwin gallery is also completely unacceptable and must stop – two wrongs do not make a right.”

The tweet mistakenly says the incident occurred in Jan. 2022, though she corrected it in another to say it occurred last week, in 2023. 

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San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott similarly discouraged people from acting against Gwin or his business.

“I understand that there is frustration out there and there is an impulse to act. Right now, what we need is civility. If you are frustrated with a situation, please do not act on your anger,” Scott tweeted.

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Gwin was booked into San Francisco County Jail. His bail was set at $2,500, according to FOX 2 San Francisco.

He faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine if found guilty.

Fox News’ Michael Lundin and Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.

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