Police have arrested an art gallery owner in San Francisco after he was seen on video spraying water on a homeless person outside his store last week.
Police issued an arrest warrant Wednesday charging gallery owner Shannon Collier Gwin with misdemeanor assault “for the alleged intentional and unlawful spraying of water on and around” the homeless person, the prosecutor said. Brooke Jenkins District. in a tweet.
Gwin, 71, was arrested Wednesday afternoon near his store and booked into the San Francisco County Jail on assault charges, according to police.
CNN has not been able to confirm if Gwin has an attorney. He did not immediately respond to emails and calls for comment.
The arrest stems from a Jan. 9 interaction captured on video in which Gwin, casually leaning against a door, sprayed water from a garden hose at an unprotected person named “Q.” Officers responded to the scene for a possible assault and interviewed both people, who refused further police action, San Francisco police said.
People angry at his treatment of someone in need have vandalized his store in response, authorities said.
“The alleged assault on a homeless member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions,” Jenkins said in a tweet. “Similarly, the vandalism of the Foster Gwin Gallery is also completely unacceptable and must stop – two wrongs don’t make a right.”
The confrontation comes as San Francisco, as well as other cities with high housing costs, have struggled to address the rise in homelessness and the sense of clutter it can generate. Some 4,400 people are homeless on the streets of San Francisco and 3,400 live in shelters, according to a 2022 city count.
Gwin told CNN affiliate KGO that the homeless person, a regular in the area, refused to move and resisted his help moving his belongings. He added that he was not sorry for his actions.
“It’s hard for me to apologize when we haven’t had help in this situation,” Gwin told KGO after the incident and before his arrest. “We have called the police. There must be 25 recorded calls to the police.”
He has since offered an apology in a video statement, according to KGO.
“I deeply apologize and hate when I see that video,” he said. “I completely broke down. I am not equipped or trained to deal with a long-term citywide problem like this. I know it’s very hard to see. I can only ask others to maybe try to better understand my breaking point by looking at the sudden reactions they might have had in their own life and how they might have overreacted and now feel so humiliated and regretful.”
Trena Hamidi, who co-owns a bar next to the gallery, told CNN that she was outraged when she saw the video, though she acknowledged that Q has caused problems in the past, including obscene shouting.
“The city needs to step up and do something to give these people the support and help they need, not put them away a few blocks away,” Hamidi said. “This is not the solution”.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently touted her administration’s progress in reducing homelessness, saying the city experienced a 15% decrease in unprotected homelessness and a 3.5% decrease in overall homelessness between January 2019 and January 2022.
“To accomplish this, we launched new initiatives on the streets, reactivated and expanded our shelter system, designed treatment programs for homeless people dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, and purchased more housing units than we’ve ever had before. in the last 20 years”. Breed wrote.