Pharmacy chain Walgreens has fired the private security firm, Kingdom Group Protective Services, whose guard fatally shot a shoplifting suspect last month at a Market Street store.
The San Joaquin County-based security company confirmed the news to the SF Chronicle late last week. Kingdom Group CEO James Vierra gave a comment to the paper saying, "We enjoyed working for them." Vierra also reportedly said he understood why the company would cut ties, and he said, "It’s a difficult thing our company is going through."
Kingdom Group employee Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33, was implicated in the shooting of 24-year-old trans man Banko Brown on April 27, and the case has sparked outrage over the fact that Anthony was armed with a deadly weapon at all — let alone that he would use it amid a scuffle with an unarmed person who was trying to steal some candy.
SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins released surveillance video of the incident last Monday — video which did not quell the uproar, as it seemed to show the fatal shot being fired in haste after the physical conflict with Brown was already over. Anthony claimed in an interview with police that Brown repeatedly threatened to stab him — though no weapon was found on Brown's person or in his shopping bag. And witnesses said Brown was going to spit on Anthony, or was in the process of spitting at him, when the shot was fired.
Anthony further explained that he carried two handguns but no non-lethal weapon, and that Kingdom Group didn't provide their guards with any equipment or weapons. He also said that the company had recently issued orders to its guards in retail stores that they should conduct "hands-on" interventions to prevent store losses by shoplifters.
Jenkins and her office concluded that there was insufficient evidence to counter Anthony's presumed claim of self-defense in a court trial, and said last week that no charges would be filed in the case pending additional evidence.
Last week, amid ongoing protests surrounding the case, SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin issued a formal resolution asking the state attorney general and the federal Department of Justice to launch their own inquiries into the shooting.
Previously: Protests Erupt Following Banko Brown Charging Decision, Video Release; Peskin Calls for AG and DOJ Review
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