California State Attorney General Rob Bonta has agreed to review the evidence in the case of the shooting death of 24-year-old Banko Brown, and whether SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins made the right call in declining to press charges.
Responding to calls from the SF Board of Supervisors, Brown's family and their attorney, John Burris, Bonta's office says it will be reviewing whether Jenkins's decision not to file any charges represented an "abuse of discretion."
"A second view by another set of prosecutors, I think it’s important for credibility for the entire system that that review takes place because from our perspective, the DA’s decision was totally contrary to the evidence," says Burris, speaking to KRON4.
And in comments to KTVU, Burris said, "t's not a guarantee. There are standards the attorney general has. They make their own judgments... and they may or may not decide to do it, but ultimately they make their own independent decision."
Jenkins's office issued a statement in response saying, "Banko Brown’s death was a tragedy, and I join his friends and family in wishing he was still here today. I heard the public’s concerns and we released a comprehensive analysis and report that included investigative records, witness statements and video evidence, so the public could see all of the facts and details and understand how we arrived at our decision. We provided the highest degree of transparency possible that we could with this case. We welcome the Attorney General’s review and will assist and cooperate as needed."
Brown was shot on April 27 after an apparent shoplifting incident in which security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony had a physical altercation with Brown. Anthony can be seen in surveillance video mostly overpowering the much smaller Brown, and pushing him out on to the street. Brown comes back to the door and may have been lunging to spit at Anthony, when Anthony fires his gun and Brown falls back on the sidewalk outside.
On Monday we learned that Walgreens has cut ties with the security firm for whom Anthony was working.
Jenkins's office released surveillance video of the shooting last Monday along with video of Anthony's interview with police, and a report on the charging decision.
"We do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to overcome what we would expect his defense of self-defense to be," Jenkins said at the time.
The next day, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution calling on Bonta and the federal Department of Justice to look in to the case.
Speaking to KTVU, Brown's mother, Kevinisha Henderson, says of the news of Bonta's review of the case, "It gives me hope. That video was very hard to watch and I don't understand how [the district attorney] doesn't see a reason to prosecute."