(KRON) — Twenty-four-year-old transgender man Banko Brown was fatally shot and killed by a private security officer at a Walgreens in San Francisco after being accused of shoplifting in April. Now, Brown’s parents have decided to sue Walgreens, the private security firm Kingdom Group Protective Services Company, and the killer Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony for wrongful death, the family’s lawyer announced Friday.
“Anthony was on edge, a powder keg waiting to explode. Banko’s apparent shoplifting was the spark that set Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony off,” said attorney John Burris. “Walgreens and Kingdom Protective Services ordered their security to be more aggressive, causing their unfit security guard to blow up and kill Banko over nothing.”
Brown and the security guard got into a deadly confrontation inside a Walgreens store on Market Street on April 27. Brown was unarmed when the guard opened fire. Anthony told detectives that Brown threatened to stab him and that he felt like his life was in danger.
The lawsuit filed by Brown’s mother, Kevinisha Henderson, and father, Terry Brown, alleges that Walgreens amplified the potential dangers on conflict by telling its security guards to confront suspected shoplifters physically and that these instructions contributed to Anthony’s use of deadly force to stop Brown. The lawsuit also alleges that the security company sent in an armed employee who was “emotionally unsuited” for the job and that, “This could have been avoided if Anthony were unarmed, more emotionally balanced, and coupled with less confrontational instruction from Walgreens.”
Walgreens spokespeople told KRON4 they had no comment on the lawsuit.
Burris will hold a news conference addressing the lawsuit Friday at 1 p.m. in the fifth floor conference room of 7677 Oakport Street in Oakland.
Thursday, community members gathered to honor Brown’s life at a funeral service in San Francisco.
“No one deserves to be killed for shoplifting or arguing with a security guard,” said one of the family’s attorney’s Ben Nisenbaum. “The security company put pressure on the guards to more actively physically detain shoplifters. It’s clear Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony felt that pressure and Anthony cracked under the pressure and shot and killed someone who posed no significant threat to him. He should be in jail.”
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said, based on surveillance footage, witnesses, and statements from the guard, her office will not prosecute the guard, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, for killing the shoplifter. Anthony remains out of custody.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he would review the case to see if the state can bring charges against Anthony.
KRON4 reached out to Walgreens for a comment on the lawsuit, but they declined to give one.