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Decision to Charge SF Business Owner Sparks Controversy

The decision to charge a San Francisco gallery owner with assault for spraying an unhoused person with a garden hose is sparking a new debate.

It’s been a week and a half since a video surfaced, showing San Francisco gallery owner Collier Gwinn spraying down an unhoused person outside his business.

Gwinn was arrested and charged Wednesday.

Reverend Amos Brown, the president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP said he has since talked extensively with Gwinn about the incident.

Brown says he disagreed with San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ decision to charge Gwinn but he was careful not to criticize that decision.

“I’m not interested in punitive justice. I’m interested in restorative justice,” he said.

Gwinn was not available for comment when NBC Bay Area arrived at his gallery Thursday.

Instead, a person who said that he’s an employee there told NBC Bay Area through a speaker in the door that Gwinn was taken into custody, but was cited and released. He said Gwinn does not have an attorney.

Brown told NBC Bay Area he has been in communication with Gwinn since last week.

“He has confessed. He has said he’s sorry. I have spoken with him several times,” Brown said.

Brown is far more critical about the way the city is handling the unhoused and the city’s growing drug crisis over the last few years.

He noted recent break ins at his church, Third Baptist, and at other congregations in the city.

“Because the body politic of this city has not dealt with the issue of the unhoused in a comprehensive, holistic, compassionate way,” he said. “We end up being in this kind of an unfortunate situation.”

Brown said the incident with Gwinn could be a teachable moment when it comes to the unhoused.

He added that it’s everyone’s responsibility to deal with the situation, including those who are unhoused.

“Even a person who is without a house should shoulder responsibility,” Brown said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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