A white business owner in San Francisco is facing widespread backlash after a viral video showed him spraying a Black homeless person, as she sat outside of his store. The disturbing clip had over 11.1 million views as of Thursday.
Man Identified As Antique Shop Owner, Attempts To Blame Everyone But Himself For Hose Incident
The man with the hose has been identified as Collier Gwin, owner of an antique shop and gallery. The gallery was closed Tuesday, however NBC Bay Area spoke to him through the speaker in the door. A Twitter page for the business had also been deactivated after the video went viral earlier this week.
Gwin told the outlet that he and the rest of the neighborhood know the man very well, who was only identified as Cora in news reports.
He attempted to place the blame elsewhere, and called the victim “psychotic” who has refused repeated attempts at help.
“The whole neighborhood is a part of this situation,” he said. “The police force is a part of this situation. The city and the social services is a part of the situation. There have been repeated attempts to try to help this (person) who is psychotic.”
This man should be arrested. This is what white supremacist do abuse, homeless, Black people, anti-blackness in San Francisco. Nancy Pelosi Districk. You got a black woman who is the mayor. pic.twitter.com/pGgLDGPuOc
— Don Salmon (@dijoni) January 10, 2023
Store Owner Says He’s Repeatedly Called Cops, Social Services, But “Nothing Can Be Done”
Gwin did say he sympathized with the homeless person’s situation, and went on to add that he has repeatedly called the police and social services whenever the victim became disruptive, saying “absolutely nothing can be done” about the issue.
“There’s absolutely nothing that can be done. They’ll take (him) to a shelter, and they will turn (him) out in two days,” said Gwin. “They will take (him) to the hospital, they will release (him) within a day.”
Meanwhile, Gwin refused to say what caused him to spray the victim with a hose that day. However the man that posted the video said he also knows the unhoused man, calling him “very calm” and that he “doesn’t go inside (any businesses).”
“OK, that (man) doesn’t go inside the businesses,” he said. “(He) sleeps on the street, but (he’s) very calm, yeah. I was putting quarters on the parking meter right now and (he) was passing by.”
This is Collier Gwin, the owner of San Francisco art gallery Foster Gwin.
Hosing down a homeless women in the cold. pic.twitter.com/RNgk2lP5UC
— 📿🏳️🌈Henry Amador-Batten (@AmadorBatten) January 10, 2023
Witnesses, Social Media Express Outrage At Viral Hosing Incident: “This Man Should Be Arrested”
Another eye witness, Larry Maroney, who was working a construction job nearby, also saw what was happening and said he confronted Gwin for spraying the man, but did say he “understands both parties.”
“I can understand both parties,” he said. “I feel sorry for the tenant, I feel sorry for the (man). But the police had come out one time and he said there’s nothing they can do.”
Social media expressed their outrage after video of the incident went viral earlier this week.
“This man should be arrested. This is what white supremacist do abuse, homeless, Black people, anti-blackness in San Francisco. Nancy Pelosi Districk. You got a black woman who is the mayor,” one person commented.
The SF Chronicle interviewed Gwin. He gave a very non-apology. The lack of compassion and empathy is a gut punch. pic.twitter.com/fSpyELm3vn
— Laura Burkhardt (@LauraAnnSTL) January 11, 2023
“The SF Chronicle interviewed Gwin. He gave a very non-apology. The lack of compassion and empathy is a gut punch,” another noted.
“Look at his stance! He is enjoying this!” a third wrote. “So sad,plus she is elderly. He should’ve given her a hand up, a coffee or the very least a kind word. It is brutal out there with pounding rain, flooding and freezing temperatures,” another tweeted.
Investigation Into Incident Ongoing, Police Say, But No Arrests Have Been Made As Of Yet
Police visited the store shortly after to talk to Gwin, however he did not answer, NBC News reports.
Authorities say an investigation into the incident remains ongoing and would not comment on any potential charges.
No arrest has been made as of Thursday.