SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office released a slew of videos on Monday of the Banko Brown homicide, including footage recorded by Walgreens store surveillance cameras and a police officer’s body worn camera. Brown, a 24-year-old transgender Black man, was unarmed when he was fatally shot on April 27 after shoplifting.

The Walgreens store security guard, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, was arrested by the San Francisco Police Department on suspicion of homicide immediately after the killing. Anthony was released from jail days later, and he remains out of custody.

(WARNING: Graphic Video. The Walgreens store surveillance video can be viewed below.)

No criminal charges will be filed against the guard for Brown’s death, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said.

Jenkins held a news conference Monday afternoon to explain why the case will not be prosecuted. Anthony believed he was in imminent danger because Brown made a “sudden movement,” Jenkins told reporters. The guard also told SFPD detectives that Brown threatened to stab him while they were wrestling inside the store.

According to Anthony, Brown repeatedly said, “I’m going to stab you! I’m going to stab
your a**!” Anthony told detectives that he did not see anything in Brown’s hand, but he was fearful of being stabbed because of the threats.

Walgreens cameras recorded the moment that Brown tried to walk out of the store carrying a bag full of stolen items. The security guard confronts Brown, restrains him, and tackles him onto the ground, video shows. Brown was facedown on the ground for a few seconds before he stands back up, grabs his bag, and makes a second attempt to leave the store. Video shows Brown facing the guard in the store’s doorway when Anthony opens fire.

Banko Brown
Banko Brown

Two San Francisco supervisors described Brown’s death as an apparent execution.

“I am horrified by this video which appears to show Banko Brown being executed for shoplifting,” Supervisor Dean Preston told KRON4.

Supervisor Shamann Walton said, “I have watched the video several times, Banko Brown was clearly walking backwards, after being thrown to the ground, punched, and abused by the security guard for several seconds. Banko walks backwards and is executed. The security guard had the upper hand the entire time and even told Banko that he was letting him go. Where is the perceived threat? DA Jenkins’ decision to not charge gives every armed security guard in San Francisco a license to have an open season to shoot and kill Black and transgender people for alleged shoplifting.”

Banko Brown
The security guard wrestles Banko Brown into a choke hold. Brown is wearing a white T-shirt. (Image courtesy SFDAO)

Because of “extraordinary” public interest in this case, the District Attorney’s Office produced a charging declination report that includes evidence analyzed by prosecutors, statements from witnesses, and detectives’ interview with Anthony. (The full declination report can be read below).

A woman who was shopping and witnessed the shooting is identified as “Witness 1” in the DA’s declination report. After the woman heard one gunshot, she heard the guard say, “Dammit … someone call the police, someone call 911,” as he re-holstered his gun, the report states.

The security guard pulls out a gun as Banko Brown carries a bag filled with stolen items from a Walgreens store at 901 Market Street in San Francisco. (Image courtesy SFDAO)

A gravely-injured Brown said, “Sorry man, that shouldn’t have happened. I was stupid,” according to the woman.

The time between when the guard first confronted Brown for shoplifting, and ultimately shot him, was 54 seconds.

The District Attorney’s Office wrote, “Based on the criminal investigation, review of evidence, and evaluation of the case, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges against the suspect in the Banko Brown death investigation.”

Jenkins told reporters that there is not enough evidence to prove guilt, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to a jury. Anthony has a strong case for self defense, she said.

Banko Brown
Banko Brown, 24, of San Francisco, was homeless at the time of his death.

The DA’s Office gave the following chronology of events describing the evening of April 27:

  • Banko Brown attempted to leave a Walgreens without paying for items taken.
  • A lawfully armed Walgreens security guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony attempted to stop the theft.
  • Brown became physically combative, escalating the theft to a robbery.
  • During the struggle, Brown repeatedly threatened to stab the guard, Anthony later told investigators.
  • Anthony had Brown pinned down on the ground.
  • Anthony released Brown, stepped back, and drew his firearm because of the stabbing threats. He pointed the firearm toward the ground.
  • Brown grabbed the bag of stolen items off the floor and walked toward the door.
  • Brown turned and lunged in Anthony’s direction, after which the shot was fired.
  • Anthony said he opened fire because he feared for his safety.  

DA investigators wrote, “Anthony is seen holding a firearm in his right hand still pointed towards the ground. As Brown was walking out of the store, Brown suddenly turns toward Anthony and moves as if to lunge at him. Within about one second of Brown turning back and making this lunging motion, Anthony raises his firearm and shoots Brown one time in the chest.”

Anthony is employed by Kingdom Group Protective Services, his job title is “Robbery Suppression Officer,” and he was assigned to guard the Walgreens store on Market Street.

KGPS changes its policies concerning the role of its security guards frequently — sometimes daily, the report states. On April 27, the company’s instructions to guard personnel was to engage in “hands-on” recovery of merchandise. “They were to actively work to retrieve or recover any stolen items once it was clear that the individual who concealed the items intended to leave the store without paying,” the report states.

Anthony told police that he could have lost his job for letting the shoplifter get away.

District Attorney Jenkins implored news reporters and the public to read her office’s full charging declination report to provide context to the Walgreens surveillance video. Jenkins emphasized that the video has no audio, and watching it without context and background fails to paint the full picture of what happened.

The District Attorney’s Office provided the following pieces of evidence Monday:

Brown’s father believes his son should still be alive. “He certainly believes his son was killed in cold blood,” the family’s attorney, John Burris, told KRON4. Burris said he will be filing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the guard, the security company, and Walgreens.

Burris said the surveillance video provides proof that Brown was trying to get away, “period.” “But he was manhandled and thrown to the ground, he backs up, and then gets shot. That is what the family is quite disturbed about,” Burris said.