In a tumultuous Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, supporters of Banko Brown, who was shot and killed by a Walgreen’s security guard, urged the supervisors to press District Attorney Brooke Jenkins to reconsider charges.
Following the meeting, Supervisor Aaron Peskin took the unusual step of doing just that. While noting he hasn’t seen video of the shooting, Peskin said police sources he’s spoken with who have seen it said Brown, who was unarmed, was shot after assuming a “fighting stance” and spitting on Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, the guard.
“I would like to see — and have the public see — whatever video the police have seen and the DA has seen,” Peskin said.
“The DA, based on what I’ve heard from law-enforcement, should re-evaluate and reconsider.”
Even before the meeting began, Brown’s supporters made it clear they would press mightily for charges.
“This city,” Kimora Lanique said as a dusting of rain fell outside City Hall, “has failed us to the fullest.”
Lanique, a friend and colleague of Brown, was addressing a circle of around 30 supporters and loved ones of the slain 24-year-old before public comment at the May 2 Board of Supervisors meeting.
The mood among Brown’s supporters was somber in the wake of security guard Anthony’s Monday release from jail. Jenkins announced that no charges would be filed against the Walgreens security guard who, on April 27, shot Brown dead.
In dropping the charges, the DA said Anthony, 33, “feared for his life” and that “the evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense.”
The DA’s office confirmed today that Brown was unarmed.
Sources familiar with the situation told Mission Local that Anthony confronted Brown over the latter’s alleged attempted theft of $14 worth of candy. Brown, family said, stood 5-foot-4 and weighed around 155 pounds — and was purportedly far smaller than the security guard.
In the elevator up to City Hall’s second floor, Tumani, a friend of Brown’s, said she hoped that enough noise for Brown would force city leaders to act.
“And, we want the video released,” she said firmly. Several nearby echoed her.
Mission Local has repeatedly requested both the police and DA to see video of the assault — video Jenkins referenced in informing her charging decision. The DA has not responded, and the police have flatly refused: “We are not releasing any video surveillance footage of the incident, nor are we releasing further details.”
As of now, no footage from the incident or photo of the security guard has been publicly released.
Brown’s supporters filed into Board chambers and took their seats, filling up half the room where, moments before, a sparse crowd of five sat.
When the Board’s agenda finished and public comment opened, in unison, Brown’s supporters held up signs on letter-size paper stating “Hold DA Jenkins Accountable,” “Housing for Black Trans Youth,” “Justice for Banko Brown,” “Killer Security Must Go,” and more. A long line to speak formed a few feet from the podium, made up almost entirely of Brown’s supporters.
“That was a life that was taken for racial profiling,” said Lanique to the Board. “I bet if I was all masked up in a sweatsuit, you would think I was probably gonna steal, huh? I took a security guard class. I know what they’re supposed to do: Observe and report. When someone’s outside the store already, your job is done. What if that was y’all kid?”
Supporters shouted Brown’s name following every speaker’s comment. Most members of the board remained largely impassive. Some in the crowd told Board President Peskin and Supervisor Shamann Walton to get off their phones. One speaker pointed out that no supervisor issued any kind of statement on Brown’s death.
“I’m standing here for Banko Brown, for all transgender Black lives taken,” said Tumani. “We demand the evidence. We’re not taking no sorry, no sad faces. We’re leaving here with justice.”
“This death was nothing short of a lynching,” said Jeremy Miller, a member of Black Alliance for Peace. “There is no gray area.”
Speakers called for more services for Black youth, the disarming of security guards and for District Attorney Jenkins to resign. Several demanded an amendment to Article 25 of the city’s charter, which permits an armed guard to draw a gun when a person or property is threatened.
“We have lost a brother. We have lost a sibling. We lost an uncle — he was an uncle to babies,” said one speaker. “He was riding BART to sleep for shelter. No weapon on him, no nothing.”
“San Francisco must take responsibility,” she said.
The group spread out across the room, still brandishing their signs, as time progressed and many grew restless. More and more sheriff’s deputies trickled into the room, gathering along the back edge of the wall.
“Guess what: We comin’,” said another speaker. “You can replace property, but you can’t replace a life.”
The meeting culminated in a forced recess as the 30 public commenters shouted down supervisors.
Additional reporting by Joe Eskenazi.