There was a protest Monday that marched down Market Street to City Hall following the announcement by SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins that no charges would filed in the Walgreens shooting of 24-year-old Banko Brown.
As KPIX reports, dozens of people rallied Monday outside Walgreens to demand justice for Brown, and then marched up Market Street toward City Hall. One of the signs being carried at the protest read, "We saw the tape: Banko was murdered."
The Young Women's Freedom Center, where Brown volunteered and which helped organize yesterday's protest, said in a statement:
We do not need to see the video to know that Banko Brown's killing was unjustified. Armed force is not a justified response to poverty. Young people, especially Black and trans youth who experience poverty deserve love, care, and the resources they need to survive and thrive. Banko deserved to live.
It seems likely there could be some disruption at today's Board of Supervisors' meeting just as there was last week, with friends and supporters of Brown continuing to demand justice and looking to the District Attorney to hold the shooter accountable. The DA's office has concluded there is insufficient evidence to prove that the shooter, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, did not act in self-defense. He has claimed that he feared for his life.
With Monday's announcement came the release of surveillance video, a video of the interrogation of Anthony, and the DA's Office investigative report on the case. And reaction to the video has been predictably loud and swift, as it does not seem to satisfy many people on the question of whether the shooting was justified.
The video shows Anthony tussling with Brown near the door of the Walgreens at 825 Market Street, just after Anthony tried to stop Brown from exiting the store with allegedly stolen merchandise. Following some struggle, in which it's clear that Anthony can easily physically overpower the smaller Brown, Anthony lets Brown go and pushes him out of the store. Brown can be seen edging back into the store — witnesses say he intended to spit at Anthony — and after a slight lunge with his chest forward, we see Anthony raise his gun and take a shot, and Brown falls backwards outside the store.
During questioning by police, Anthony says that Brown began threatening to stab him while they were struggling on the ground. And having not frisked Brown, Anthony says he did not know what Brown might have on his person or what he might do if he was let go.
The full interview can be seen below, via the DA's office and ABC 7 — and Anthony and the police misgender Brown throughout, referring to him as female. It later became publicly known that Brown was trans and identified as male.
Anthony says he was primarily trying to subdue Brown and had him a choke-hold position at one point, saying he would release him if he calmed down.
Anthony also admits that he carries two guns on the job, and that he used to carry pepper-spray, however that was "confiscated" at some point, possibly by Oakland police. (Anthony just says he lives in downtown Oakland.) None of these items are provided by the security firm Anthony works for — he says that what they provide to guards is "just a t-shirt."
Anthony said the day that this incident occurred at the Walgreens, the firm, Kingdom Group Protective Services, had put out a notice to all employees that they should engage with shoplifters in a "hands-on" manner and prevent them from leaving stores with stolen goods.
As Jenkins said in a press conference Monday, per the Chronicle, the question of how guards or police should handle shoplifters remains an open one.
"It’s a conversation that needs to be had amongst everybody involved — us as consumers, the stores, leaders … about the serious implications of both unarmed and armed security. I think it’s one that we need to have at this moment," Jenkins said.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the Chronicle that he plans to introduce legislation today calling on California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the federal Department of Justice to investigate the case.
"This is not who we are. Stealing a bag of candy does not warrant the death penalty. I understand people are afraid of crime, a fear being stoked by too many politicians and their political allies," Peskin said, per the Chronicle. "But this is not a choice between justice and safety — we can have both. And allowing what appears, at a minimum, to be an unjustified shooting does not make us safer. It does not make us better. It should make us ashamed."
Top image: A photo from a May 7 protest via savkuang/Twitter