Supervisor Dean Preston proposed a new ordinance earlier this year that would bar armed security guards from drawing their weapons in response to a property crime in progress — following the widespread outrage over the April killing of Banko Brown.
That ordinance had a hearing at the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee today, and as Mission Local reports, and all three supervisors on the committee supported putting it forward to the full board.
"I believe strongly that nobody should ever have to die just because they are suspected of stealing property," Preston said, per Mission Local, adding that he was "dismayed" to find that SF's police code currently allows private security to draw weapons to protect property. This actually isn't permitted in the code for sworn officers, but it is allowed for guards.
"It makes no sense whatsoever that we would have a different standard that would be more permissive for property, when sworn officers have more rigorous standards," said committee member and Supervisor Matt Dorsey, per Mission Local.
The ordinance would amend the police code's Article 25, which has not been changed since 1981.
Under the current code, for sworn police officers, a weapon can only be drawn when there is a "specific and articulable threat of serious bodily injury or death."
Brown, 24, was killed at the Powell Street-adjacent Walgreens on Market Street on April 27, shot by private security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony following a physical altercation. Much controversy arose before and after the release of surveillance video that showed Anthony and Brown tussling on the ground of the store after Brown attempted to exit the store with a bag containing stolen candy.
While the altercation was intense, Anthony far outweighed and overpowered Brown, who was eventually pinned to the ground and then was allowed to walk outside. Anthony then fatally shot Brown through the store's doorway as Brown was either lunging forward or going to spit at Anthony.
Anthony told police that his employer, Kingdom Group Protective Services, had recently instructed all guards to get more aggressive in thwarting shoplifters.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins ultimately declined to file charges against Anthony, who claimed self-defense in the shooting, despite the fact that Brown was not armed.
"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. This decision came after weeks of protests over the killing — and after Brown's family retained the services of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris.
A review of the case by the state attorney general's office is ongoing.