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.
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.