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Britt Hartman, co-founder of the transgender navigation center, at A May 4 rally outside District Attorney Brooke Jenkins' office. Photo by Griffin Jones. Taken May 4 2023

Note: On May 15, security camera footage was released, contradicting portions of Donald Washington, Jr.’s on-the-record eyewitness account. Video shows that Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony did not go back inside the store after ejecting Banko Brown and bump into Washington, then decide to return to the front of the store and subsequently shoot Brown. Footage shows that Anthony and Brown remained at the front of the store, with little time between their physical altercation and Anthony’s shooting of Brown.

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A man who says he was an eyewitness to the killing of Banko Brown on April 27, and filmed the aftermath of the shooting, says that Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony had already ejected Brown from the store and gone back inside — before changing his mind, walking back outside, and shooting Brown. 

Donald Washington, Jr., was at the register with his coffee and tea in Walgreens at 825 Market St. last Thursday, when he heard a tussle and turned around. 

“I had my earbud in my left ear, listening to some jazz music,” said Washington. He heard a spitting sound, he said, and looked to his left.

He saw the Walgreens security guard, Anthony, 33, grappling on the ground inside the store with Brown, 24.

“I look to the left for a minute, and [Brown and Anthony] were arguing, tussling in the store — like, wrestling,” about 12 feet away from where Washington stood bagging his groceries.

Washington said Anthony then threw Brown out of the store. 

“[Anthony] threw [Brown] down on the ground. Just threw him down. He’s about 6-foot-2. He threw [him] on the ground and told [him], ‘Get out of my store.’ As this is happening, I’m putting my items in my bag.” 

Family have said that Brown stood 5-foot-4 and weighed about 155 pounds. 

According to Washington, after Anthony threw Brown out, the security guard turned around and went back inside the Walgreens. At this point, Washington was turning to leave and Anthony bumped into him. 

Washington reacted: “‘Ey, bro’ — I look at him, he says, ‘My bad, family,’ turns around, says, ‘Damn, hell naw, not today,’ and goes back outside the store. At that instant moment, I’m thinking, ‘Is he gonna fight him? What’s going on?’ So I pressed the button on my camera right fast. As I’m pressing the button, he already shot [Brown],” said Washington.

“I’m watching him with his right arm get his pistol, aim it at [Brown’s] chest and shoot [him],” Washington said. 

Washington said at no time did he see a knife or hear Brown threaten to stab anyone. He said he saw Cap’n Crunch cereal and other small snacks in Brown’s bag.

Washington said that, just prior to the shooting, a group of eight to nine others stood outside the store and that, when Anthony threw Brown out, they began shouting at the security guard regarding his physical confrontation with Brown.

After seeing Anthony shoot Brown, Washington started shaking. He chose to stay inside the store, filming Brown and Anthony on the sidewalk from behind the glass door. He headed outside as a crowd gathered. 

“There were little kids walking by, asking ‘What’s going on, mom?’ Like, ‘Mom is [he] sleeping?’”

In Washington’s video, Anthony stands beside Brown as he lays on the ground grasping the guard’s legs, saying, “Please help me.”

“He could have used pepper spray. He could have used a baton. He’s a big dude. A gun, though? You go outside, you come back in the store, think about things for a minute. He processed it.”

Anthony “shot that boy over some snacks,” Washington summarized. Washington is a documentary filmmaker with his own production company, Fast Black TV. He has been a customer at the Market Street Walgreens for several years. He says he is familiar with the store’s staff, including Anthony. 

Washington added that he has not eaten or slept well in the past week, because the scene was so traumatic. 

On May 1, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins declined to charge Anthony and he was freed from jail. 

Family urges release of video

Today at 2 p.m., one week after Brown’s death, around 40 supporters and family and friends from the Young Women’s Freedom Center and other organizations crowded outside the District Attorney’s Office at 350 Rhode Island St., chanting and calling over megaphones for Jenkins to release video and witness accounts of the killing

Cars honked in support as the group chanted. Candles were lined up along the low-level wall outside the office and lanyards bearing photos of Brown were handed out.

“They’re not listening to us,” said Kimora Lanique, a friend of Brown’s from the Young Women’s Freedom Center. She held a microphone and stood, shaking her head. “I can feel it in my body,” she said, expressing exhaustion after a week of rallying.

Last week, Brown’s parents contracted prominent Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who has previously represented the families of numerous police shooting victims, including Mario Woods, Oscar Grant and Sean Monterrosa.

Burris’s office has put out a records request for footage of the April 27 attack. He said they are “solidifying as much as we can with witness statements and trying to get access to videos. They may not come real quickly, but it will come. We will undoubtedly file a lawsuit here in due course.”

When asked why Jenkins would reference footage of the shooting in informing her charging decision and then refuse to release it, Burris replied: “I was surprised at that, as well. If you’re not charging, you have no interest in not allowing the public to see the video; there’s no issue about jeopardizing future proceedings; she decided there are not going to be any.”

On May 9, Supervisor Aaron Peskin will introduce a resolution urging the district attorney to “release police reports, witness accounts and video information” of the shooting, an unusual step that Peskin said was informed by his conversations with police. The resolution was co-sponsored by Supervisors Myrna Melgar, Shamann Walton, Joel Engardio and Connie Chan. 

The text originally included a request that Jenkins “reevaluate” her decision based on the facts. Engardio said this change came at his urging and earned his support.

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. Keeping it very simple:
    Chief Scott of SFPD said Banko Brown was unarmed.
    Why did this security guard feel he had to use deadly force?
    I sure hope any video has been preserved by Walgreens or others.

  2. Police and private security companies have the ability beforehand to ensure cameras are in place to record any potential incidents. Because of that, I only trust their narrative if they can back it up with footage.

    1. Good point. It’s also a good argument to have police officers
      in Walgreens for an encounter. They wear body cameras.
      Walgreens is doing things on the cheap with private security.

  3. release the video

    why is it being kept secret

    if the guard is truly innocent he has nothing to fear.

    if not?

    release the video show us the whole thing unedited.

    what does brooke fear?

  4. Doesn’t Walgreen’s bear some responsibility for this? Sounds like the Security Guard “cracked” because of abusive working conditions-was there no one else to assist him? An underpaid, inadequately trained armed contractor kills someone who is living more marginally than he is, victim may not have even been doing anything wrong. Horrible all around. I am not diminishing the death of Banko, but there has gotta be a better way, otherwise we are living in Hell.

  5. “Anthony “shot that boy over some snacks,” Washington summarized”

    Washington heard a “spitting sound”, but concludes the death was over ‘snacks’. Sounds much more likely that he was shot for ‘dissing’ the guard, rather than the content of his “shopping” bag. I guess that doesn’t fit with the narrative though.

    As for the crowd outside that shouted at Anthony for tossing the shoplifter, I can imagine that being scary. We’ll have to hear what exactly prompted the guard to ‘fear for his life’.

  6. Years ago, I remember when Duterte was president in the Philippines and authorized police to execute drug dealers on the street. They were literally walking up to people on the street, shoving them to their knees and shooting them in the head.

    I commented to an in-law of mine, an 80yr old grandmother. A super sweet Philipino woman. Just quiet and dainty and kind. Her response, “well, there is a big drug problem there. Duterte is dealing with it”

    Here we are today, you talk to people who you think are good and rational people and they’re literally responding with, “there’s too much shoplifting”. How this is a deterrent… And the REACH they go to justify it.

    At the very least, you’d think people would be like, “oh yes, that was so awful. Such a shame that someone died over what started as simple shoplifting. Just a tragedy”. Nope. Every single comment I’ve seen is like, “that’ll teach them. Thank God someone’s willing to do it. He deserved it, he might have had a knife. He deserved it, he spat on him”.

    We’ve got a horrible problem with homelessness, poverty and the drug abuse that it leads to and perpetuates. But if you offer any solution other than “put them all in jail”, you’re under attack.

    I dunno what the solution is, but it sure as F isn’t letting mall cops murder people.

  7. I do not see what has materially changed here. Banko either posed an imminent threat or he did not. If he did than the guard walks.

    1. There should not be a question of whether or not a threat was posed, but what manner of threat, that pulling his firearm was justified, nevermind firing at the man? The footage will either support Ms. Jenkins decision or call he bias & judgement into question, which wouldn’t be th we worst thing that could happen to her?

  8. so very sad for all and our city

    I believe the best solution to problems at all walgreens in SF is to require a drivers license be scanned before entering the store, problem solved !!!

    1. NO! What do you think we are, North Korea? How about we stop arming security guards who are not trained enough to carry them?
      Release the video and we all can see what happened.

    1. Unfortunately, if people see the video they will see what they want to see given that they’re minds are.made up already. Sort of like the young African American woman who was so intoxicated she was bouncing off the walls of a hotel corridor until she ended up stepping inside of a walk in freezer. Dozens claim that some mysterious figure grabbed her and did her in… Really?!

  9. As sad as this event is, one must wait until all the information is collected. The security video will be released in time. While DA Brooke Jenkins declined to charge Anthony … and freed him from jail, the case is certainly not closed. As more evidence is collected, the security guard could still be arrested and charged.

  10. If Washington’s version of what happened turns out to be true, Anthony needs to be arrested, charged and held in jail, and our DA needs to resign. How is any POC going to feel that they are being treated fairly by our DA?

    I guess we will not know the truth until the alleged exonerating video is released to the public.

  11. Once again: Crooked Brooke Jenkins has failed spectacularly in her responsibilities as DA. Release the video. There will be no rest or justice until the video is released.

  12. Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony need to be booked on premeditated murder charges pronto. The public is not safe with this element running free.