The saga of the “spray seen ‘round the world” seemingly came to a quiet close Monday morning, as the gallery owner charged with misdemeanor battery for spraying an unsheltered woman with a hose was sentenced to 35 hours of community service.
When a January 9 video of a man spraying an unhoused woman with a hose in North Beach went viral on Twitter and racked up nearly 11 million views and made international headlines, the internet was quick to do its thing and identify the hose-wielding character as Foster Gwin Gallery owner Shannon Collier Gwin. Gwin was arrested the next week and eventually charged with misdemeanor battery, which carried a possible six months jail time and a $2,000 fine.
A San Francisco gallery owner who faced misdemeanor battery charges for spraying a homeless woman with a garden hose – an incident captured in a video that went viral – has agreed to do 35 hours of community service to have his criminal case dismissed.https://t.co/CIGhChdVQR— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) July 10, 2023
But Gwin seems a well-off man with a good attorney, so you figured he would not be doing six months in jail. And the Chronicle reports that on Monday morning, Gwin’s charges were dismissed, though he had to agree to 35 hours of community service.
There are conditions that Gwin must also pay any restitution still owed, comply with a restraining order barring him from contact with the victim, and not be arrested for six months or until he completes the community service. Should he not abide by those conditions, the battery charges could be filed again.
DA Brooke Jenkins’s office had hoped for more community service hours, though called the pre-trial diversion a “sensible resolution to this case.
“I am hopeful that Mr. Gwin will complete all programmatic requirements and take the time working with Third Baptist [Church] to develop a greater understanding, respect, and empathy for the plight of unhoused people in our community,” Jenkins’s office said in a statement to the Chronicle.
As that statement notes, the 35 hours of community service are to be performed at Third Baptist Church. That church's pastor, Rev. Amos Brown, held a town hall about the incident in January, and Brown was vocal in getting Gwin to apologize publicly over the fiasco.
“I can’t stop thinking about this every 15 minutes,” Gwin told the Chronicle at a subsequent meeting. “I can’t sleep. I’ve had two panic attacks where I’ve gone to the hospital.” Gwin says he and his neighbors had called police and social services more than 50 times to report the woman in question and the various troubles they feel she caused.
As an aside, Gwin was also parodied in last month’s Gay Shame satirical Pride Month installation at Artists’ Television Access, as seen above.
Image: @briochesf via Twitter