A San Francisco antiques dealer has gone viral after being caught on video spraying a homeless women with a hose.
The alarming incident was filmed by Edson Garcia, the owner of nearby business Brioche Bakery & Cafe. The attacker in the video has been identified as Collier Gwin, the owner of Foster Gwin Gallery, which the incident took place near.
Garcia told The Washington Post that he saw Gwin pouring water on the woman, who has not been identified, demanding that she "move."
“My first look at the person was he was [spraying] the street,” Garcia said. “When I paid attention closely, it was a lady. She was screaming, ‘No, no, no.’”
Gwin did not say what specifically prompted him to spray the woman, but explained to NBC Bay Area that he has repeatedly tried to have her confined in an institution.
"There’s absolutely nothing that can be done. They’ll take her to a shelter, and they will turn her out in two days," he said. "They will take her to the hospital. They will release her within a day."'
Gwin alleged that he constantly has to clean up after the woman, and that she is "disruptive." Though Garcia said he is friendly with the woman, and that she has always seemed composed.
“She’s very calm,” Garcia said. “She always has a broom in her hand. She cleans where she sleeps. … [We] offered coffee to her, but she always rejected.”
\u201cSan Francisco\u201d— Clown World \u2122 \ud83e\udd21 (@Clown World \u2122 \ud83e\udd21) 1673322716
Both police and the San Francisco Street Crisis Response Team arrived on the scene and spoke with Gwin and the woman, who has declined to press charges. A police spokesperson said that the department's investigations bureau will be reviewing the incident for possible further action.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California have since released a joint statement in which they condemned the attack, though said it was emblematic of a larger societal attitude towards unhoused people.
"Unhoused San Franciscans, who are disproportionately Black and Brown, are victims of violence far more frequently than the average San Franciscan," the statement reads. "Violence like this assault occurs in the context of government, societal, and press participation in scapegoating unhoused residents and treating them as though they are objects to be swept, jailed, and harassed, instead of working toward solutions to homelessness like affordable housing."
It concluded: "We as San Franciscans are all complicit, and we call on City officials, press, and residents, to honor unhoused people’s rights and increase the kindness and humanity that helps prevent violence."
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