Still no charges or arrest
by People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
Ten days into 2023, in the midst of a record breaking rainstorm that is being called an atmospheric river and a cyclone bomb, good ol’ San Francisco racism showed its anti-Black face and made the internet explode after Collier Gwin, the white owner of Foster Gwin Gallery, located at 712 Montgomery St. in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco was videotaped water-hosing a homeless Black woman who was sitting on the curb outside of his gallery.
Since the incident two days ago, Collier Gwin has been interviewed by police and members of the mass media. He has not been arrested or charged with any crime. In true racist media form, a Jan. 11, 2022, article on the CBS Bay Area website, the news platform included Collier’s justification in its story about the incident.
According to Gwin, the homeless Black woman, known on the streets as “Q,” slept in his doorway, scared off customers and left food everywhere while speaking in “tongues.” Collier admits to spraying the water around her cleaning up her mess, then snapping and spraying her, as if this is a legal, appropriate and humane response.
“To me, it’s not an issue of whether our Mayor or DA are Black women, as a life-long resident and voter in San Francisco, my expectation is for everyone to be treated fairly. However, this country has practiced a type of justice system which upholds one set of rights for poor people and another set of rights for the wealthy,” explained Bivett Brackett, a San Francisco native and longtime community advocate.
“Poor Black people, in particular, face the worst inequities in our criminal justice system, even when we are the victims of crimes. Witnessing DA Jenkins being so vocal about standing up against crimes against vulnerable elders in the Asian community, and being virtually silent about an elderly Black homeless woman being assaulted with a water hose, makes it undeniable that this type of hypocrisy and injustice in our criminal justice system still rings true today. And while these are not the same visuals as police dogs and fire hoses in the South during Jim Crow, it’s nonetheless the same mistreatment and disregard for human life that we see playing out in 2023!”
What Bivett Brackett said seems to be in line with what DA Jenkins has been saying on social media, considering that on Dec. 17, 2022, Jenkins wrote on her Twitter account, while tagging KPIX TV and Betty at KPIX, “We have a perception among people in San Francisco that there aren’t consequences. We have to change that culture here and we’re doing it day by day since I took over.”
“It’s sad, it’s sickening, and I pray our DA Brooke Jenkins does the right thing and charges Collier Gwin with assault and that he actually serves jail time. Mr. Gwin is unremorseful and he has been allowed to parade his violent ideology as if this behavior is an acceptable way to address our homeless crisis,” continued Bivett Brackett.
Many people in San Francisco’s Black community don’t believe that DA Jenkins will prosecute Collier Gwin, because she was originally appointed to replace the recalled former DA Chesa Boudin, who was popular in the Black community, in June of ‘22. Her recent election was bankrolled largely by San Francisco’s big business community and allies of law enforcement.
According to 48 Hills online publication, SRO Martha Stewart said the homeless Black woman known as “Q” who was water-hosed was “taken away” on a “5150,” an involuntary mental hold, where a psychiatrist can hold somebody in the hospital for 72 hours and forcibly medicate them with powerful psychotropic drugs if they are “deemed” a threat to others or themselves. All of this is happening in the “progressive” congressional district of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“If we still have to see visions of Black people being hosed down in our streets by white men, right now in San Francisco, then we know we have a long way to go before we achieve any equity,” lamented San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton.
We also have to ask ourselves, do we only care about this Black woman’s well-being because some racist white man assaulted her? Where is the concern for our homeless people in general, who are living un-housed during a record breaking rainstorm?
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau and is founder of his latest project, the Ministry of Information Podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Instagram.
This story was made possible by a grant from the California State Library’s #StopTheHate campaign to promote interracial dialogue and intervene in hate crimes, which have drastically increased against all communities of color, specifically Black people, since 2020. The Stop The Hate campaign is made possible with funding from CSL in partnership with the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (CAPIAA). The views expressed on this website and other materials produced by (insert your organization) do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the CSL, CAPIAA or the California government. Learn more at www.sfbayview.com/stopthehate or capiaa.ca.gov/stop-the-hate.