Following a unanimous call from the Board of Supervisors and a letter from civil rights attorney John Burris, Attorney General Rob Bonta agreed today to review evidence in the killing of Banko Brown, an unarmed alleged shoplifter who was shot and killed by Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony on April 27.
Bonta is reviewing the case under the so-called abuse of discretion standard, which occurs when an “absurd” ruling is made. On May 15, DA Brooke Jenkins formally declined to file charges against Anthony.
“We feel triumphant. We feel hopeful,” said Barbara Brown, Banko Brown’s stepmother, on the AG’s decision.
“But we also felt hoodwinked by the district attorney,” she said. “We were meeting with her the day she already decided not to charge. She had us under the impression that she was going to reexamine the witnesses and review the tape. Then what was the point of meeting with us?”
“I know what my God can do. I believe Anthony will be rebooked and charged for the murder of Banko Brown. We won’t stop fighting for justice for Banko Brown.”
The Brown family’s attorney, Burris, last week sent a letter requesting that the AG review Jenkins’ decision not to file charges against Anthony for the killing of Banko Brown.
“I’m pleased he did,” said Burris of Bonta’s move. “The decision [Jenkins] made was contrary to the evidence, and the law. There’s clear evidence that this was a homicide. This was unlawful. [Anthony] shot an unarmed man when he himself was not in danger.”
Burris confirmed he received Bonta’s letter accepting the request today.
Burris said he will hold a press conference on Friday at 1 p.m., announcing lawsuits against Walgreens and Kingdom Protective Services Group, the Bay Area company formerly contracted by Walgreens that employed Anthony.
The AG’s agreement to review the case is no guarantee that it will file charges.
After a review, the AG announced May 19 that he would not move forward with a case against former San Francisco police officer Christopher Samayoa, who shot and killed fleeing unarmed carjacking suspect Keita O’Neil in 2017.
Jenkins dropped that case, publicly claiming it was a misbegotten political crusade by her predecessor, ousted former DA Chesa Boudin.
O’Neil’s aunt, April Green, stated that after his decision, she told Bonta point blank, “You don’t got balls.”
The review of evidence in Brown’s death was announced shortly before today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, during which the supes unanimously voted in favor of a resolution urging Bonta and/or the U.S. Department of Justice to reexamine the case.
“My hope is that they determine this is an execution and there must be a charge, or it is open season on Black and trans people in San Francisco,” said District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton.
Added Board President Aaron Peskin: “It speaks volumes when a Board of Supervisors that has political views ranging from extremely progressive to quite moderate votes unanimously and all saw the same video.”
“I am heartened that [the case is] under an abuse of discretion review,” Peskin continued. “What got me going on this wasn’t 50 of Banko’s friends coming to the board meetings. It was Thursday night, the 27th, the cops said, ‘this doesn’t look good — the guard shot some kid who spit on him.’”
From Governor Newsom touring the TL and committing state resources to a solution, to State AG Bonta’s “I’ll take a look at that..”, it’s clear that Breed and her Admin have been recognized as inadequate to SF governance; even the Supes are finally wising up!
Welcome to the issues, Sacramento! SF Residents have been wondering where you’ve been!
I’m glad this is getting reviewed, but wouldn’t expect the review to produce prosecution. Prosecutorial discretion is protected to an extreme degree, and, while I believe that Jenkins’ decision is a political decision, the standard of “abuse of discretion” is very high.
Precisely. To those thinking this decision is some sort of “black mark” on the DA, it is just the opposite. It is designed for the AG to provide political cover to the DA. The AG will review things and determine the DA did not abuse her discretion. To the extent it matters at all, this will all also help the defense in the civil suit. It will come into evidence that the DA declined to prosecute because it was determined this was self-defense, and the AG also reviewed it and agreed. That case will settle regardless, but this will lower the settlement value.
On the other hand, if we have a homicide (there’s the actual dead body, so yes) and it’s deemed okey-dokey despite a complete lack of supporting evidence other than the word of the possibly-just-slightly-conflicted shooter, the consequences of such a decision are quite high indeed.