people court
Banko Brown's supporters at public comment after the May 2 Board of Supervisors meeting.

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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. 

Tumani speaks at public comment, calling for shelters for Black trans youth.

“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.

Board Clerk Angela Calvillo came up to speak with the group when a recessed was called after public commenters pushed for more time.

“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.

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

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  1. To Really: regardless of the theft, the security guard initiated assault, instead of taking his bag away, or even ordering him to stop or he would shoot, which makes him liable for the assault. If he had to shoot, and accept the consequences, shoot him in the leg. I say even if he’s found not guilty, Walgreens is on the hook for what transpired, and they deserve it. As my pharmacy, they are the sleaziest drug chain around!

  2. This is also on Walgreens for having hired this trigger happy limited mental faculty individual. I say the victim’s family should sue Walgreens for wrongful death. A nice settlement would be a great deterrent for Walgreens to vet their employees more carefully

  3. Like most everyone, I haven’t seen the video either. But Brown was stealing. Maybe it’s finally time to understand that the police will do no policing so businesses are forced to have poorly trained, low wage private security doing the job for them.
    I’m sorry that this person is dead. It’s a tragedy. But I’m also sick and tired of thieves running rampant in this dying city. And I’m a liberal Democrat!
    Where was her family when “she had to steal because she was hungry?

  4. Where are the family members when he needed a home? or even some money for candy?

    Why aren’t they outraged these family member refused to take in a dear family member?

  5. Interesting new developments based on actual events!

    It appears that SFPD interviewed witnesses at the scene of the Walgreens, collected video and arrested Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony for the killing of Banko Brown. Then SFPD proceeded to bring a case to the District Attorney’s office to duly charge Anthony for murder under the law and subsequently Jenkins issued a public statement declining to press charges against Anthony, and later released the murder suspect.

    Somehow this sounds to me as if Jenkins is guilty of what she accused Boudin of.

  6. Checkov’s Gun: if a gun enters the scene of a play, it will be fired before the end of the scene

    Walgreens Gun: if you put armed guards in a store in a city with “out of control” crime narratives, someone is going to get shot

  7. Quite instructive that the nonprofiteers invoked the shibboleth of “black homeless trans person” and called for more money for services instead of leading with the much more and appealing “unarmed” that exposes the truly appalling nature of this summary execution.

    1. The jury would only want to know whether it was reasonable for the guard to believe that the suspect had a weapon. And not whether he actually had a weapon.

      Some suspects like to pretend that they have a gun or knife in order to get the guard to back off.

  8. This is an ugly incident which words cannot fully describe. The city deteriorates and grows progressively to the right with the polarity of wealth, throwing more people into the streets with city government acting as the stooges of the rich, powerful and corrupt. Until recently, San Francisco was beautiful, corrupt and unaffordable. Now, it is no longer beautiful. The Mayor and the District Attorney are reflections of this. The charges should not have been dropped but the incident fully investigated to weigh the merits of the case. Should there have been an abuse of lethal force, it would have exposed the inequity and ugliness of this city which was formerly a home for artists, poets and activists. We need to change this town and seize it from the rich and corrupt!

  9. a young man is dead for the alleged theft of $14 of candy; probably because he allegedly spit on a security guard.

    to suggest that anyone has the right to detain another person using deadly force over a trivial theft shows the depravity of people like ron.

    it was inevitable that deadly results would happen when walgreens started placing armed security in their stores. again, san francisco residents are allowing the fear narrative to encourage public support for deadly force simply because we are frustrated by the theft of ‘things’.

    ‘things’ can be replaced; life cannot be replaced.

  10. I would like to express my support for Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony.

    I hope you allow me to do so.

    1. I will second that. This article refers to Brown as “slain,” which isn’t accurate at all, given the circumstances. If only a few details of this scenario were flipped, no one even would have heard about it. (See comment below left by Really). The Brown family, of course, is in my thoughts and prayers. However, it is unfair how Anthony is being portrayed. Even if he wasn’t completely justified in his decision to use a lethal weapon, the bottom line is that he was acting in self defense, thus he should not be described as violent. My brother went through a similar situation wherein he now has to live with the guilt of lost life at his hands as a result of doing his job. Anthony isn’t violent, words like “slain” shouldn’t be used to describe him, and he will be in my prayers, as well.

  11. Take out the transgender, take out the race, take out the physical-size difference: Someone stole from a store, the security guard steps in, thief gets killed, and it’s the security guard who’s at fault? Please stop trying to normalize petty theft, please stop blaming others for your actions which instigated the reaction, please stop playing the victim and clean up your own house first before pointing fingers. No one should lose their life for every single act that breaks the rules, that’s true – but if you didn’t do the crime, you wouldn’t be in this bad situation, yeah? Every “victim” of these types of situations – your hands are not clean.

    1. You really think it’s OK to take a human life because he allegedly stole something worth $14? You’re definitely a sick person.

      1. “No one should lose their life for every single act that breaks the rules, that’s true – but if you didn’t do the crime, you wouldn’t be in this bad situation, yeah?”

        Uh, please read the whole comment before you make yourself look like fool?

      2. I agree, I do not condone steal BUT is it worth 14 dollars in food to kill a human. No it does not!

    2. Please stop trying to normalize killing people over petty theft. Gun violence is completely unacceptable in any situation where your life is not in clear immediate danger. I read your little “If you didn’t do the crime, you wouldn’t be in this situation” disclaimer, and it doesn’t make your argument any more valid or sensible. Leveling petty theft with murder is absurd and insane. If I had to choose between the two, I’d rather live alongside the person stealing a few dollars worth of candy than the violent, trigger happy nut job who never should have been armed in the first place. What about innocent bystanders? They didn’t commit any crime to be put in a situation where bullets are flying. Not everyone wants to witness a brutal murder over a Snickers bar when they go out to pick up a prescription. You sound bloodthirsty. Let me guess- school shootings are okay with you too because kids steal pens and magic markers? We wouldn’t want to normalize that behavior right? I sure hope you don’t own an assault rifle.

  12. What happens when this constructed crime hysteria narrative falls to pieces when the video is released, like so many previous efforts to frame families’ tragedy for political gain?

    1. The DA has presumably already seen the video, and based their self-defense conclusion upon that. So I would not hold out hope for that one.

      The security guard is entitled to detain anyone he suspects of theft. And is entitled to use force if he encounters resistance or threats from the suspect. Otherwise what is he supposed to do? Do nothing and just let the guy walk off?

      1. Regardless of what the law entitles, the end result is completely disproportionate to the circumstance. The guard should have walked away once Banko became obstinate and/or combative. That would have been the ethical thing to do.

        1. No, the ethical thing to do would be to stop someone from stealing. Property crime is out of control in San Francisco, and that is not trivial. People sweeping entire shelves of items into trash bags while people watch. Then they walk out without anyone saying a word. I know the reasons why, but it is a symptom of a society disintegrating, a rationalization of unethical, immoral, illegal, criminal, and uncivilized behavior. It’s not fun watching the city I’ve spent most of my life in descending into chaos and anarchy.

        2. No, it was the guard’s job to prevent theft!

          It is not the guard’s job to say “Oh it is only a sandwich or a bag of candy, so I will just let him walk off”. The sole purpose of him being there, and being armed, is to prevent such crimes.

      2. Clearly the only reasonable option the guard had was to kill the person for swiping some stuff and being aggressive – that is, until we actually learn something of the truth of the matter instead of endlessly speculating and conflating.

      3. It is illegal in CA for a security guard to execute someone for theft or presumed theft if the suspect is unarmed.

        1. No, whether or not the suspect is “unarmed” is not the issue. It is sufficient only that the guard reasonably believed that the suspect was armed. This principle has been upheld by the courts over and over.

          If, as seems the case, the suspect refused to cooperate, threatened the guard, moved towards the guard in a menacing way, and appeared to have in his hand some kind of weapon, then this was a good shoot.

      4. Yep, folks seem amazed that someone is shot after threatening someone. So what if the threatening person was unarmed..the security guard didn’t know that, the guard didn’t know the person wasn’t going to come back or whip around with a weapon. This was not a guard shooting a person waiting in line to pay for their purchases. Soon Walgreens will probably shut that store down too because of the decreased positive foot traffic.
        Then when Walgreens will

      5. YES He is supposed to let the guy walk away with his candy. Is his life worth less than a bar of chocolate? GMAB Ron. Security guards let organized crime rings steal entire shelves of stuff and walk out. This is BS

      6. He’s supposed to use force, not deadly force, not over something worth $14. If you thing otherwise, you’re the one with a problem.