crowd walgreens
Xavier Davenport, Banko Brown's mentor and friend, speaking at Monday's rally demanding justice for the slain 24-year-old. Photo by Griffin Jones, taken May 1, 2023

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“You can’t take a Black trans life here. You have to answer to all of us now,” said Julia Arroyo at Monday afternoon’s rally calling for justice for Banko Brown, the 24-year-old trans man shot on Thursday, April 27, by a Walgreens security guard.  

“Banko was a loving person. Every time Banko walked into the center, he was surrounded by small children and a gang of people around him. And even when he was turned away from doors, he still brought people to get resources.” 

Arroyo is co-executive director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center, where Brown was a community organizing intern.

Brown, an organizer who was born and raised in the Mission and Fillmore, was killed by a single gunshot on Thursday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m., from Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33, a Walgreens security guard. The location at 825 Market St. has been shut down since the incident.

Family and friends danced after the vigil, honoring Brown’s fun-loving spirit outside the closed Walgreens. Photo by Griffin Jones, taken May 1, 2023

Just hours after the rally, which gathered about 100 supporters and family of Brown at the Market St. Walgreens, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins declined to file charges against Anthony. 

“The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense,” read a Monday statement from Jenkins. Anthony was released from jail today.

Video alluded to by Jenkins when announcing her charging decision has not yet been obtained by Mission Local. In this video of the shooting’s aftermath, Brown struggled on the sidewalk outside the store as he bled out. Police and paramedics arrived, and he died shortly after.

Following the rally, multiple family members stated they heard from witnesses that Brown did, in fact, have a receipt in his hand at the time of the shooting, and that he was holding a sandwich or similar food item. 

Longtime mentor and “big brother,” Xavier Davenport, told the crowd: “As a Black trans man myself, it is not easy to be Black. It’s not easy to be trans in this America; in this city we live in that does everything they can to trample us.”

“What [he] did did not justify [him] to be killed,” said Brown’s stepmother, Barbara Brown, in tears. “If [he] was hungry, it did not justify for [him] to be murdered. This was a senseless death.” 

Protesters at a rally for Banko Brown
People from the Young Women’s Freedom Center guarding the entrance to the rally. Photo by Griffin Jones, taken May 1, 2023

Barbara told the crowd that Terry Brown, the young man’s father, got the call from the Chief Medical Examiner Friday morning. “A call no father should get,” she said.

Barbara was surrounded by Banko Brown’s family, who have taken part in several vigils outside the Walgreens since Saturday. Cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews made up the core of the circle of scores of people packed into the narrow strip of Market Street in front of Walgreens.

A majority of the block is fenced off for street work, but supporters and family have made do with tributes, hanging posters and placing candles along the chain link fence facing the store, which leaves only a few feet of passage for passersby on the busy street. During the rally, Young Women’s Freedom Center members stood guard at either end of the passage, allowing only attendees through. 

Davenport described a city hostile to Black trans youth, saying that colorism against dark-skinned Black youth is especially prevalent at services in the Tenderloin and Castro.

“The Transgender District, which is in the Tenderloin, needs to be held accountable,” said Davenport. “It’s not just about gift cards and HIV tests. It’s about these lives; kids like him. People like me.”

“I’m 35 years old — it’s a blessing that I made it. But I’m mad that [Banko] didn’t make this. He just celebrated a birthday. He just celebrated a birthday.

Several speakers brought attention to the discrepancy between political discourse and lived experience for Black trans lives in the streets, pointing out Mayor London Breed’s commitment last May to “end trans homelessness by 2027.”

Lastarr Russell, Banko Brown's cousin, stayed at 825 Market late on Monday lighting candles for her loved one.
Lastarr Russell, Banko Brown’s cousin, stayed at 825 Market late on Monday lighting candles for her loved one. Photo by Griffin Jones, taken May 1, 2023

In her statement, Breed said: “Transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming San Franciscans are 18 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to the general population, and we know that the rates are even higher for our minority trans communities.”

But, many present said, the mayor has failed them, saying too many Black trans youth experience extreme poverty. 

Geoffrea Morris, an activist with Black Women Revolt Against Domestic Violence, called for an amendment to Article 25 in the city’s Charter, which allows for guns to be drawn by private security “in lawful response to an actual and specific threat to person and/or property.”

The circumstances preceding Brown’s death are not yet publicly known, beyond Jenkins’ statement. It is unconfirmed if Brown was leaving the store with stolen goods. 

“The law says armed guards can pull when property is in danger,” she said, shaking her head. The crowd booed.

“It’s time to shut some shit down,” said Tinisch Hollins, a mother and organizer with SF Black Wallstreet. “I came here to deliver a message to San Francisco, to say y’all fucked up. This city has reminded us over and over and over again just how disposable we are.”

When the speakers finished and people dispersed, a smaller group held strong, lighting candles, leaning against the closed Walgreens and dancing to Mac Dre played from a phone speaker. Some let walkers in the re-opened passageway know that “someone was killed here.” Few stopped to ask why.

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Reporter/Intern. Griffin Jones is a writer born and raised in San Francisco.

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  1. Why no mention of the “race” of the security guard in any source, but we are for some reason told that Brown was “black and trans?” What has his being “black and trans” to do with anything, and how would the guard have known Brown was “trans?” If the security guard had been “white,” or any non-“black” “race” I’m sure we would have been told, and the protesters would be shouting it from the rooftops. Therefore, I conclude that the guard was probably “black.” but that doesn’t exactly fit the “black trans” persecution narrative, does it?

  2. “During the rally, Young Women’s Freedom Center members stood guard at either end of the passage, allowing only attendees through.” What, they think they own the sidewalk?They have no right to obstruct the public right-of-way.

  3. Thank you Griffin Jones for the detailed report of this rally for the memory of Banko Brown. Aside from Mission Local, I don’t know any other paper, except the Bayview, that would give voice to the people who loved him, and identified with his racial and gender identities, or any other paper that would report on this community’s collective struggles against violent persecution and injustices. This is also a story about the DA, Brooke Jenkins, who gives a pass for law-and-order enforcers to kill at will. I am sorry, ML, that you have to endure and publish such biased and ill-informed comments.

  4. Why did no one care to help this person when they were alive. They repeatedly draw attention to the fact that this person was experiencing homelessness and financial instability for years, yet all these relatives and friends could not help? Additionally being a Walgreens security guard is not a high paying job. The other side of this is another person at the bottom of the income pole trying to avoid financial instability. I don’t see any mention of the guards race, so it must not play into the narrative. Reality is every death is a tragedy and the shooter is most likely suffering from there actions but dragging them over the coals for something that is not clear cut crime nor racism/transphobia is not helping the larger issue of robberies being perpetuated in SF. The solution to financial instability is not letting people run amok in the city. Help others suffering by opening up your home and pocket.

    1. Leo,

      First step would be for the Board of Supes to pass some kind of Universal Basic Income project to boost SSA.

      ‘Reparations’ just already has a trashed name.

      Andrew Yang’s, ‘UBI’ does not.

      Go Warriors !!


  5. While this murder is sad and despicable, at the same time, that whole VICTIM IDEOLOGY espoused by that black trans of that political group is pathetic and am sure if those peeps held political power, they would discriminate against others.

  6. The da explained the basic facts… as shown via video. Guard approached brown who was shoplifting. Brown threatened to knife him. Guard drew gun, but did not point it at brown, brown advanced on guard, who shot him.

    Threat of violence, and advance toward guard, was clear self-defense.

    Even in Sf, you would not get even one vote for conviction, let alone 12

    Not sure why this detail is not in this piece.

  7. Can’t go around threatening to stab someone. Especially a person with a gun who can act on that deadly threat with their own deadly threat. Legally and morally justified.

    Sad but true. Sometimes a hard pill to swallow. Also this case is never really closed. It was a homicide. Any NEW credible evidence leading to a crime can reopen the case.

  8. Extremely one sided story here that only serves to cause further division in the community. SF Standard is reporting that Brown threatened to stab the security guard and then advanced toward him before he was shot.

    While I respect much of ML’s reporting, presenting only one side of the story makes ML appear to be more of a propaganda arm of the progressive power structure, rather than a legitimate news source.

    1. @Pat – The SF Standard story quotes an uncorroborated anonymous source claiming there was a knife. The Chronicle story reports that Jenkins would not answer a question about the existence of a knife.

      1. @Jym @Joe

        Neither I nor the quoted source said he had a knife or that “there was a knife.”

        The claim is that Brown “threatened to stab” the security guard, and then advanced toward him.

        In order to perceive a threat, the security guard is not obligated to wait until a knife is stuck in his gut before defending himself.

        1. Pat — 

          Neither the police, DA, nor any identified source has yet said Brown “advanced toward” Anthony. We are all awaiting more clarity. Please refrain from making claims about things you can’t know.


  9. At my local Walgreens on Mission St. a couple of days ago a very large individual with no pants on barged into the store carrying a big plastic bag. The small, older Asian lady behind the counter told him to get out as he came at her through the swinging door that goes behind the front desk. He shoved her out of the way to access the electronics behind the front counter, shoveled a huge pile of things into the bag and walked out.

    In any rational place, he would have been arrested, charged with (1) indecent exposure (2) Trespassing (3) Assault and battery and (4) theft. He’d go to prison for a year or so or maybe be diverted into the mandatory custodial mental health and drug treatment programs he clearly needs.

    In San Francisco, he walked, pantsless, down toward 24th St where he likely sold his pile of loot on the public square to support his fentanyl or meth habit.

    I do think maybe the Walgreens security guard was out of line for carrying a gun, but that is debatable, given the kind of people he has to deal with every day at his job, many of them armed. I don’t think Banks Brown deserved to die for stealing a bunch of stuff from Walgreens, but I also don’t believe he deserves to be praised for the poor choices he made in life.

    This is a tragic and depressing event, but it is an inevitable byproduct of the Breed administration allowing certain aspects of the city to slide toward quite literal anarchy.

  10. I don’t really understand the whole “black trans” angle Mission Local (and the Chron) are pursuing with this story. It’s just some serial shoplifter who had a run-in with the wrong security guard. What the hell does it have to do with the guy’s genitalia?

    I think a more interesting angle is how INSANELY fed up people in the city are with the serial shopflifting. There are going to be a lot more incidents of violence against thieves and drug addicts if the city doesn’t figure out a way to start cracking down.

    I have heard idle talk about organizing a vigilante squad at my local Safeway. A few guys with baseball bats waiting in the parking lot (or on the sidewalk just outside the parking lot) would do a lot to deter this B.S.

    1. Jack,

      Head of SF’s first Vigilantes was elected Mayor after they took over the cop shop and hanged a couple of people.

      Around 1851 but my memory is sketchy that far back.

      Bring back the Patrol Specials !!

      Go Niners !!


  11. The video link is not working. It takes you to a YouTube page that says: “Video unavailable, This video is private”

  12. Framing this issue as being about “taking black trans lives” is disingenuous, and the people holding the rally should really check themselves.

    Yes, they are grieving their loss. But this is a straightforward case of someone shoplifting, threatening a security guard, and getting shot. Mr. Brown being black and trans had nothing to do with the situation in the moment.

    The rally organizers’ approach trivializes the real struggles of black and trans people and does a disservice to those communities and the city of San Francisco.

  13. The DA needs to be transparent and give specific details they have to explain why no charges are being brought. Lots of rumor and hearsay going around but the facts of the case need to be out there. Besides armor car guards, no store security needs firearms, give them tasers or mace but no firearms in a store open to the general public.