Video of Banko Brown being shot outside Walgreens
Still from the Walgreens security footage of the April 27 shooting of Banko Brown.

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The San Francisco district attorney’s office today released video of the Banko Brown shooting, revealing that Brown was shot and killed by Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony as Brown was retreating from the store.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, who had earlier stated that evidence “clearly” showed Anthony acting in self-defense, today formally confirmed that her office will not be bringing charges.

Prior to the shooting, the video shows a struggle between Anthony, 33, and Brown, 24, in which Anthony repeatedly batters the much smaller alleged shoplifter, striking him with a fist, placing him in a headlock, and pinning him to the ground. 

After Anthony releases Brown from the ground, Brown grabs his bag of allegedly shoplifted goods and walks backwards to leave the store, raising his arm at Anthony two seconds before the shooting. As Brown moves backwards, possibly spitting at the guard, Anthony fires.

Anthony is 6 feet tall, per a police report; Brown, his family said, stood 5-foot-4.

Anthony, according to a 25-page report released by Jenkins on Monday, said that Brown had repeatedly threatened to stab him during the altercation. Witnesses could not corroborate those statements, according to the report.

He was, according to the report, instructed to “actively work to retrieve or recover any stolen items” by Kingdom Protective Services Group, his employer and the security firm hired by Walgreens to guard against shoplifting in the store.

YouTube video
The shooting video in slow-motion and close-up.

The video has been the cornerstone of Jenkins’ decision not to press charges against Anthony, who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder for the Thursday, April 27, shooting but released on May 1. The DA, on May 1, said Anthony was in “mortal fear.”

Board President Aaron Peskin introduced legislation earlier this month calling for a release of this video and other evidence, a move that all 10 of his colleagues voted to support.

After viewing today’s video, he said that, on Tuesday, he will introduce legislation calling for the California attorney general or the U.S. Department of Justice to review the evidence in this case.

“Don’t get me wrong, I understand that plenty of folks are afraid of crime —  which is being stoked by a certain segment in this city, including politicians and their allies. But I think this sends a terrible message of impunity,” Peskin said. “The world we live in is about time and distance and de-escalation, and none of that happens here. Banko Brown heads for the door, he is outside, he is backing up when he is shot.” 

“I mean,” continues Peskin, “this is not who we are. Stealing a bag of candy doesn’t warrant death.” 

The district attorney, in her report, said “there is insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges against Anthony” as the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Anthony did not act “in the need for self-defense or the defense of others.” 

“So they’re just going off [Anthony’s] word against my [son’s] like that?” asked Terry Brown, Banko Brown’s father, outraged by the news. He had not yet reviewed the footage, and said he did not want to watch it. Brown’s stepmother, Barbara Brown, also said she had no desire to watch the video.


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Jenkins “wants to ruffle people’s feathers. She knows Banko was out the store. They had an altercation,” said Terry Brown. “You already beat [his] ass — and then he’s out the store — he’s no threat to him. And that’s self-defense? This makes no sense.”

“She’s just letting him go? This is not self-defense,” Brown continued, his voice catching in his throat. “Banko don’t got no weapon, you just beat the fuck out of [him], then kill [him]? You just did some shit in the moment and got away with it.”

Terry Brown said the family is still planning its next steps with their attorney, John Burris, and will be at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors meeting demanding that Attorney General Rob Bonta take up the prosecution.

Video shows Banko Brown backing out of store

The video, taken from a ceiling-mounted security camera, shows Brown attempting to exit the store with a bag of allegedly stolen goods and pushing himself against Anthony, who is blocking the exit. Anthony then pushes Brown away and strikes him with his fist, continuing to strike him until Brown is on the ground.

Brown seemingly makes an attempt to grab his bag before Anthony takes him by the neck and puts him in a headlock. Anthony then slams Brown to the ground, holding him there for another 20 seconds before seemingly releasing him.

Brown crawls away from Anthony and, in the seconds before the shooting, goes to retrieve his bag. He walks backwards away from Anthony, exiting the Walgreens. Brown has his arm outstretched pointing at the guard, who is following after him with his gun drawn, but pointed downwards. 

One second before the shooting, Brown partly raises his fist to Anthony as he continues to back out of the store. As he is putting his arm down, and apparently spitting, Anthony then raises his gun and fires. 

The district attorney’s report says that Brown lunged at Anthony in the moment before the shooting. The video shows no such lunge.

“I watched this video twice and I looked everywhere for self-defense,” said retired Santa Clara Superior Court Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, who viewed the footage at Mission Local’s behest. “All I saw was a security guard in complete control of the suspect, who had him down on the ground and was sitting on him until such time the suspect grabbed his bag, ran out, and gets killed. I couldn’t find self-defense anywhere.” 

Added Tony Brass, a former prosecutor at the DA’s office, federal prosecutor and now a practicing criminal defense lawyer: “It looks like the security guard certainly was able to handle the physical confrontation pretty handily before there was any gunfire. It’s hard for me to understand why there was any gunfire when the person was exiting the Walgreens.” 

Burris, upon reviewing the footage, said that there was “no justification for shooting this young man. What you have here is the security guard being the aggressor, grabbing [Brown], tossing him around like he’s a rag. When the kid finally got loose, he’s running by him, and accosted again. In that process, he was shot. That level of force should not have been contemplated.”

Affirming Mission Local’s reporting, Burris said that Jenkins had already “destroyed her own prosecution by making the comments she’s made.” But, he concluded, “the Attorney General could get involved. We’re sending a lot of cases to the AG these days — that’s a result of local DAs stuck in the old tradition of giving the police a pass. This is not quite a police case, but it’s consistent with how those are treated.”

Eyewitness Donald Washington, Jr., who earlier gave his account of the shooting to Mission Local, is visible in the footage. While some elements of Washington’s story are affirmed by the footage, others are not. Specifically, Washington’s recollection that Anthony ejected Brown from the store, returned inside, and then went back outside before shooting Brown is contrasted by the footage released today.

The shooting has prompted two weeks of protests and repeated calls — from the family and supporters of Brown, the entire Board of Supervisors, and state Sen. Scott Wiener — for the DA to release video of the incident.

Supervisor Dean Preston introduced a resolution at last Tuesday’s Board meeting to amend a city code that states armed guards can draw their guns to protect property.

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Senior Editor. Joe was born in Sweden and spent his early childhood in Chile, before moving to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating, before spending time as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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

Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. It takes 25+ minutes or more, but read the DA’s brief on why her office feels they could not file charges. If you will not invest that time to see the legal reasoning, you are missing an opportunity. You do not need to agree but read the brief.

  2. Video is part of the story. Video is not the whole story. Looks bad*. But I could be convinced otherwise. Guess Jenkins figured the same.

    * for Anthony – but also for Banko

  3. Tragic situation. Brown is an aggressive criminal, and the guard certainly could be viewed as acting way beyond what was necessary. But the D.A.’s call appears to be the right one. On what we know, there is no way there is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high bar.

    1. Perhaps you misunderstand how the criminal legal system works. “What we know” is not all the evidence. That comes out when there is a trial, after which the reasonable doubt standard comes into play and jurors are instructed to consider all the evidence as well as to set aside bias. The video alone provides more than sufficient evidence to prosecute this case for voluntary manslaughter if not second-degree murder. Cases have gone to trial on far less. The decision not to go forward is clearly politically motivated.

      1. Who presents the evidence at a criminal trial? The prosecutor. So what we know – i.e. what the prosecutor knows – is indeed all the evidence that will come out at trial. Except for anything the defense might present which could only further weaken an already weak case. No matter what the contemplated charge here, the prosecutor would have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt which includes the burden to prove this was NOT self-defense. The D.A. made the right call. 0% chance of obtaining a conviction on the known evidence, and that’s all you have to decide whether to prosecute. You don’t prosecute a man on charges that are certain to fail for some twisted political reasons. What cases like this do you have in mind that were brought – and resulted in a conviction – “on far less?” This was a tragic incident. The D.A. made the right call by not creating a further tragedy.

  4. I was open to the possibility this incident was justified. The earlier incident in Japantown shows the risks can be real. But upon viewing this video, the claim of self defense looks weak. The security guard appears to exhibit poor impulse control and a lack of professionalism, and now Banko Brown is dead. I don’t support stealing, but even more so, I don’t support poorly trained shooters deciding to administer the death penalty over an insult and a bag of snacks.

    What a tragedy to go from the incompetent Boudin to the incompetent Jenkins. Boudin threw his lot in with grifters like Shaun King, and Jenkins is continuing the pattern of poor judgment, just flipped in mirror image.

  5. This is excruciating. Its also an indisputable case of rage in which the guy with the gun seized his moment of opportunity to prevail. There was zero threat to his physical safety, much less to others. Only his ego was at risk. Banko Brown gestured like so many of us would— simply, by squaring off against his opponent — a tragic grasping for a piece of dignity. I did not see his arm rising as if to punch, much less to pose a threat. Just a posture, his desperate self defense pose. Brooke jenkins is a disgrace and must be removed as as DA, maybe, disbarred.

    1. This case provides the perfect opportunity to administer non-carceral (no jail) restorative justice.

      1. I do not disagree. Restorative Justice in a case where there is an unlawful killing is uncommon, and so you need a DA who is smart enough to understand it. The perpetrator would still be held accountable to the family and the community; and the restitution — or how that accountability is demonstrated –would be a decision made by the victims and immediate affected community. The family appears astute, analytical and non-vengeful, so if we had a more sophisticated and non-vindictive DA to mediate, there could be a chance for restorative justice. I would not support restorative justice for Walgreen’s or the Company the guard worked for. I don’t want to see them in prison, but I hope they lose their shirt.

  6. The only thing that’s clear from this is that people in the comments are just waiting for an opportunity to play detective, activist or moral authority. No matter the circumstance, people dying for dumb shit like this is not a bright day and should be treated with discretion and accountability should be delivered. No amount of political bias or snappy commentary ends crime or delivers justice.

    1. Although tragic. This is what could have happened. San Francisco laws are too lax, which is why crime is up. Banko obviously thought it was his right to shoplift. He wrestled with the guard and he COULD HAVE RAN AND LEFT, but decided to go back and threaten the guard. What kind of self righteous attitude is this? What has this city come to. Now they want to prosecute the guard? Ridiculous. This is why stores are closing.

  7. I have to disagree. On his way out, Brown clearly seeks a confrontation with Anthony, rather than trying to go around him. After the struggle on the ground, Brown picks up the bag and again attempts to steal the contents. At 0:08, Brown takes takes an aggressive posture, whether or not you want to call it a lunge, and doesn’t back away until he sees the gun pointed at him.

    1. Yeah, it’s astounding to me that Brown picks up the stolen goods again after that fight, basically convinced that stealing is some sort of right. Same attitude he shows when he squares off against the guard again, even though his gun is drawn but not yet pointed. A lot of bad choices were made here, but most of them were made by Brown.

    2. It’s tragic Brown died. But in any confrontation BOTH parties need to de-escalate the situation.

      Instead, I see Brown raising his arm. Does he have a gun? A knife? Hard to tell, but in such a heated situation, it can be easily mis interpreted. If it was a gun, the security guard could be dead, just like the one in sf j town. I see brown as the aggressor and responsible for his own fate.

      “One second before the shooting, Brown partly raises his fist to Anthony as he continues to back out of the store. “

  8. It looks like an execution by a trigger-happy poorly trained minimum wage security guard hopped up on adrenaline. Totally unnecessary. Nobody deserves the death penalty for shoplifting.

  9. I just encourage everyone reading this to watch the video for themselves, and make their own judgement on what occurred. That’s the best thing about the media these days, you can actually see first hand recordings instead of having to rely on any news organization or their narratives. I’m not agreeing completely with this one here, but I’m also not agreeing with Jenkins exact narrative either.

    P.S.: It is not evident from this video that Anthony went back into the store before heading back out and shooting Brown, which was stated an eyewitness account relayed to Mission Local by Donald Washington, Jr., who filmed the aftermath of the shooting and is visible in the released footage.

    This is the weakest most intellectually dishonest “correction” I have ever seen in my life. You are suggesting that from another video it might be evident as if the camera has a bad angle or there are gaps in the shooting, instead of admitting your source lied to you and you ran with it. You should be ashamed but shame doesn’t get clicks.

    1. Hi Stephen — 

      With multiple people in the story, the language you’re quoting is from an earlier version that was intended to be superseded by the version of the text now in place.

      Mr. Washington offered an on-the-record account of this shooting and was quoted, by name, as an eyewitness to the incident — which he was. We would not have published Mr. Washington’s claims had they been made anonymously. But these were on-the-record claims about an incident that everyone knows was caught on video.

      Clearly Mr. Washington’s eyewitness account doesn’t jibe with what we see on the video. That is indeed unfortunate. What we see on the video, however, is deeply troubling.

      Finally, your claim that this was somehow an attempt to gin up readership is a deeply misguided and foolish thing to say.



  10. Crickets from the GrowSF crowd…

    Let’s see if Sachin Agarwal and Steven Buss care about the DA failing to keep people safe now. I guess it’s not the right kind of people being murdered in broad daylight, hmm?

  11. This is disgusting, clearly Banko Brown was backing away and not a threat to anyone in that store. This is what happens when we let right-wing extremists buy their way into recalling our duly-elected progressive representatives. Recall Jenkins NOW. I miss Chesa.

    1. Or natives to SF who watched this city degrade for the last 40 years through ridiculously liberal policies that have allowed lawlessness to take hold of the city? The most hilarious part is some of us that are liberal voted to send Chesa back to where he belongs because competence and accountability > excuses for bad behavior.

  12. Thank you to the Mission Local for being on top of this and letting the public know the tape was released ASAP. You are covering what the people need to know– this is an outrage and now commercial retail are out in the streets (*literally*) committing cold-blooded murder in broad daylight! What’s next? This is how the city treats its Trans & Black & Working class folks who are already struggling to feed themselves!!! We have an unethical and incompetent DA, mayor, & city government with BLOOD on their hands.