It’s never a good thing for a district attorney to learn that John Burris may be involved in a case against your office, but the family of Walgreens shooting victim Banko Brown has retained the lawyer who successfully represented Rodney King, and the families of Oscar Grant and Mario Woods.
In the wake of last week’s fatal shooting of 24-year-old trans man Banko Brown, and DA Brooke Jenkins announcing that no charges were being filed, for now, against the security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony who shot and killed Brown, there has a great deal of anger on social media about the case. Some of that anger focused on the fact that the closure of a Nordstrom has received more national attention than the killing of Brown, basically next door. But that dynamic might be about to flip.
KRON4 reports that Brown’s family has retained civil rights attorney John Burris, who’s won giant settlement payments from many a police department, and also successfully won settlements for Rodney King and the families of Oscar Grant and Mario Woods.
Renowned civil rights attorney John Burris is gathering evidence related to the killing of Banko Brown, but there is no word as to whether a suit will be filed. https://t.co/eVz0gSjW1A— KRON4 News (@kron4news) May 5, 2023
Retaining Burris does not necessarily mean Brown’s family will be suing anyone, but obviously there is a high likelihood of this. KRON4 reports that Burris “will review evidence, but there is no word as to whether a lawsuit will be filed.” Mission Local got a bit more detail from Burris, who told the site his firm was putting in a records request, and “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.”
BREAKING: An eyewitness to the shooting of Banko Brown said a Walgreens security guard had already ejected Brown from the store before returning outside and shooting him.— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 5, 2023
The DA has declined to hold or charge the guard & is refusing to release video.https://t.co/CiQHMsSBSo
And we should also note that it’s unclear who Burris would be suing if he did pursue that case. It could be DA Jenkins, it could be Walgreens, it could be whatever third-party private security firm for whom the guard Anthony was working. Or it may be a pressure campaign to get DA Jenkins to release security video of the incident, which many people are clamoring for.
That Mission Local report also reveals new details from an eyewitness who said Brown had already left the Walgreens store, and that Anthony walked back in side, and then turned around and shot Brown on the sidewalk after Brown had already exited. That eyewitness also has video of the aftermath posted to Youtube (Warning: It’s disturbing), though the video does not really offer any conclusive new details.
The witness, Donald Washington, Jr., had been inside the store at the checkout stand when the altercation occurred between Brown and Anthony, and he said he did not see Brown produce any weapon or issue any threats. He said he heard Anthony, who had just thrown Brown on the ground outside the store, say "Damn, hell naw, not today," before going back outside and shooting Brown point-blank in the chest.
JUST IN: DA @BrookeJenkinsSF declined to file charges— Betty Yu (@bett_yu) May 2, 2023
"This was a shoplifting that really based on the facts...escalated into a robbery and the armed security guard did ultimately end up using lethal force by firing one shot from his firearm that ultimately killed Banko Brown.” pic.twitter.com/m6BqHHgC1Q
Since announcing she would not file charges, DA Jenkins has been resolute that she is not releasing security video of the incident to the public. Burris’s office is just as determined to get it released. And given Burris’s well-established ability to secure prime-time appearances on CNN and MSNBC, you are likely to hear more about Banko Brown than a closed Nordstrom on the national news shows in the weeks to come.