The San Francisco Board of Supervisors' meeting on Tuesday turned raucous when family members and supporters of Banko Brown — the trans man killed last week by a Walgreens security guard — swarmed the chamber demanding justice for Brown.
The protest followed the late Monday announcement by District Attorney Brooke Jenkins that murder charges were not being filed against the alleged shooter, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, who has claimed self-defense. There is surveillance video, not released to the public, that apparently shows the altercation between Brown and Anthony on April 27, and Jenkins said, "The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense."
But family, friends, and supporters of the 24-year-old victim, Banko Brown, demand that justice be done, and they came to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to make that demand heard.
Protesters flood SF City Hall Board of supervisors chamber during public comment in meeting to protest district attorney declining to file charges against Walgreens security officer who shot and killed trans man accused of shoplifting. pic.twitter.com/99Ob8Tytm4— Mallory Moench (@mallorymoench) May 2, 2023
At least one person who has apparently seen the video, Brown’s mother Kevinisha Henderson, told KRON4 on Monday, "When they watched the video, there was absolutely no reason for [Anthony] to do what he did."
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin has not seen the video, but as Mission Local reports, he showed some support for the protesters Tuesday, saying, "I would like to see — and have the public see — whatever video the police have seen and the DA has seen." He said he had heard, via the police, that the video shows Brown assuming a "fighting stance" and spitting on Anthony, just prior to the shooting. Brown was unarmed.
Also, Peskin made the unusual move of pushing back on the district attorney's decision, saying, "The DA, based on what I’ve heard from law-enforcement, should re-evaluate and reconsider [charges]."
Jenkins has said that just because Anthony was released without a murder charge on Monday, it does not mean that he will not be charged with any crime.
Per Mission Local, supporters of Brown spoke in no uncertain terms during the public comment period at Tuesday's meeting. "This death was nothing short of a lynching," said one. "We’re not taking no sorry, no sad faces. We’re leaving here with justice," said another. "That was a life that was taken for racial profiling," said another, adding, "What if that was y’all kid?"
As the group reportedly was shouting down the supervisors, the board took a forced a recess.
More details are likely to emerge in the case as public outrage continues, much as Jenkins seems to want to put the case to bed and never release the video.
"My understanding is that Brown absconded with $14 worth of candy," says Peskin, speaking with the Chronicle's Nuala Bishari.
Bishari penned an opinion piece published today, saying that Brown was a victim of San Francisco's own callousness, and the failures of the city to provide shelter for unhoused transgender youth, like Brown. And to make matters worse, the online commentary in the wake of the shooting included much pleasure in the fact that a shoplifter was fatally shot.
"So deep are we in our obsessive narratives of crime and safety that the most urgent solution presented in the wake of Brown’s killing was investing millions more in policing," Bishari writes. "How that will help homeless youth who still sleep on our public transit systems remains a mystery."