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Signs at a May 7 rally outside City Hall calling for the release of security footage from Banko Brown's killing.

This morning, the Office of the Medical Examiner released the autopsy report for Banko Brown, 24, an alleged shoplifter who was shot and killed by a security guard on the evening of April 27 while attempting to exit a downtown Walgreens. 

A full autopsy was performed on April 28, the morning after Brown’s killing. The medical examiner’s report is largely consistent with what is visible from surveillance footage: Brown was shot once, on the right side of his chest, and died from that gunshot wound. A single cause of death is listed: “Gunshot wound of chest.”

The bullet from the guard’s gun entered through Brown’s right chest and cut through major organs, including his lung and liver, before lodging in his spine. When Brown was taken to the hospital, he underwent significant chest surgery, the report states, but was pronounced dead at 8:50 p.m., a little over two hours after paramedics encountered him on the sidewalk outside Walgreens.

The report also shows that Brown likely did not scratch the guard during the incident, stating that “no tissue, fibers or hairs are identified on or around the tips of the fingernails.” 

The report “doesn’t add anything different,” said civil rights attorney John Burris, the lawyer representing Brown’s family in a civil suit against Walgreens, the security guard, and the security firm Kingdom Group Protective Services. But, Burris said, the absence of tissue under Brown’s nails “suggests he was not clawing or scratching at the officer,” as some have suggested. 

Burris added that a lack of gunpowder residue shows “there was distance between Banko and the security officer.”

Samples of Brown’s blood showed the presence of ketamine, marijuana and methamphetamine, the report showed.

The killing sparked weeks of protests across San Francisco, with supporters and family rallying outside Walgreens and speaking at City Hall to demand that District Attorney Brooke Jenkins file charges against the security guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony.

The DA initially said she would not file charges, then told Brown’s family she was reviewing the evidence, and then, two weeks later, formally declined to prosecute. After a unanimous resolution passed the Board of Supervisors in early May, demanding the California attorney general review the case, he agreed to do so.

Attorney General Rob Bonta has been tasked with reviewing several San Francisco police shooting cases dismissed by the DA, but has not taken up a prosecution in any of those cases. Brown’s family is also pursuing a civil suit, asking for $25 million in damages.


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Reporter/Intern. Griffin Jones is a writer born and raised in San Francisco. She formerly worked at the SF Bay View and LA Review of Books.

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