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District Attorney Releases Video of Banko Brown Shooting at Walgreens, Won't File Charges Against Security Guard

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a 360-degree view from a security camera of the entrance to a drugstore
A still from the Walgreens surveillance video, which has been flipped for clarity. (Courtesy San Francisco District Attorney's Office)

Updated 6:45 p.m. Monday

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins will not charge the security guard who shot and killed Banko Brown, a 24-year-old Black transgender man, last month at a Market Street Walgreens.

Jenkins announced her decision Monday and released a slew of evidence in the case, including security camera footage, bystander video and a 25-page report.

The six-minute Walgreens security camera video shows Brown and the guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, scuffling after Brown attempted to walk out of the Walgreens. Anthony pushes Brown to the floor and is seen lying on top of Brown and holding him from behind as they get up, and then fall back to the floor.

Eventually, the video shows Anthony letting Brown stand up. Brown grabs his bag and turns to leave. As Brown is on the threshold of the doorway, he turns around and gestures back toward Anthony. Brown is moving backward when he’s shot by Anthony.

Warning: This video shows the fatal shooting of Banko Brown.

The entire encounter is over in less than a minute, the video shows. Anthony fired once.

John Burris, the civil rights attorney who is representing Brown’s family, said the footage revealed “an outrageous, unconscionable act of violence on the part of the security officer.”

“The facts from the video do not support the use of deadly force,” Burris, who said the family intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Walgreens and Kingdom Group Protective Services, told KQED.

Jenkins said her decision not to file charges was based largely on Anthony’s statement to police in which he said he believed his life was in danger.

“Based on the criminal investigation, review of evidence, and evaluation of the case, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges against Anthony,” the DA’s report concluded.

Jenkins, who first declined to file charges against Anthony on May 1 and released the video after public pressure mounted, wrote in the report that when Anthony attempted to stop Brown from leaving the Walgreens with stolen items, Brown “became physically combative, escalating the theft to a robbery.”

“During the struggle, Anthony reports that Brown repeatedly threatened to stab him,” the report stated.

Police did not recover a knife from Brown’s bag or the scene.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Jenkins, who expressed sadness at Brown’s death, acknowledged that some may view the security camera footage of the shooting and question why Anthony is not being charged.

“I would ask that members of the public and the press ensure that they view all of the evidence in this case and not simply the video … a video that has no sound, no audio to it. It is difficult to have context to what is going on,” she said. “And that is why we must listen to the security guard statement, the witness statements and everything else in order to look at the full picture of the incident.”

After looking at all the evidence, Jenkins said, she didn’t believe that she could prove a case against Anthony beyond a reasonable doubt.

“There is nothing to rebut his statements regarding the fact that he acted in self-defense,” she said, adding that no one refuted Anthony’s statement that Brown threatened to stab him. “And so again, you’re looking at the credibility of Mr. Anthony, the security guard, and whether we can disprove anything that he said. And at that point in time, at this point in time, we cannot disprove that he heard those statements.”

Jenkins received pressure to release details of the shooting even from political allies. At the press conference, she defended her handling of the case and lashed out at critics. She said the decision to release her report and all the accompanying evidence wasn’t just about responding to overwhelming public interest.

“But also what I believed were intentional statements that were designed to sow mistrust not only in myself as the district attorney, sow mistrust in my office, but also in the criminal justice system,” said Jenkins, who was appointed as the city’s top prosecutor after helping support the recall of her predecessor last year.

The release of the evidence seems unlikely to quell criticism of Jenkins’ handling of the situation, however. San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, in a written statement, called Brown’s killing an execution.

“The security guard had the upper hand the entire time and even told Banko that he was letting him go, as stated in the transcript released by the DA. Where is the perceived threat?” Walton said. “DA Jenkins’ decision to not charge gives every armed security guard in San Francisco a license to have an open season to shoot and kill Black and transgender people for alleged shoplifting.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin plans to introduce legislation at Tuesday’s meeting to refer the case to the state attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation.

“Stealing a bag of candy does not warrant what is, in essence, the death penalty,” Peskin told KQED. “I understand people are afraid of crime, which in large part is being stoked by politicians and their political allies, but this is not a choice between justice and safety.

“We can have both.”



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