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Walgreens killing: DA slams San Francisco supervisor for second-guessing lack of charges

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins speaks at a press conference a day before Banko Brown was fatally shot on April 27, 2023.| Garrett Leahy/The Standard

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on Monday accused a San Francisco supervisor of interfering with the judicial process by urging her to consider charging the security guard who fatally shot 24-year-old Banko Brown at Walgreens.

Jenkins blasted the supervisor, Shamann Walton, for pressuring her to reconsider not charging security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony in the April 27 killing outside the Walgreens near Market and Fourth streets.

Jenkins has said there was evidence that Anthony believed he was in “mortal danger” and acted in self-defense. Brown, however, was unarmed. The DA has sent the case back to police for further investigation without charging Anthony, resulting in his release from jail.

Walton issued a letter of inquiry to Jenkins calling on her to “reconsider and reevaluate” her charging decision in the high-profile case and to release video evidence of the shooting.

Jenkins responded with a letter of her own to the supervisor.

“Such a request is wholly inappropriate and dangerous to the interests of justice and a fair criminal justice system for all the people,” Jenkins wrote to Walton in the letter, which was obtained by The Standard.

Jenkins said releasing video of the shooting could compromise the investigation and would be unethical.

But Walton disputed the claims Jenkins levied against him.

“I disagree with her opinions and have been informed that there is no interference at all with my request and it is not at all unethical,” Walton responded in a message to Jenkins, which he forwarded to The Standard. “Videos are released all the time during investigations.

“We are asking for transparency around the killing and release of the video most certainly helps with that transparency,” he continued. “I hope she will reconsider.”

'Speculation and Conjecture'

In her letter, Jenkins accused Walton of reacting to “speculation and conjecture” and said she would not take official action in response to political pressure.

“Political prosecution is the enemy of a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” Jenkins wrote. “Prosecutorial discretion cannot and should not be abused for the sake of political expediency.”

She pointed out that like Brown, Anthony is Black. Walton is Black, and Jenkins herself is Black and Latina.

“Many historical injustices that our community has faced can be traced back to politically motivated prosecutions,” Jenkins said, adding that she would not allow “politics, bias or self-interest” to influence her decision to charge or not to charge.

Police Chief Bill Scott has said an altercation broke out when Anthony tried to stop Brown for shoplifting. Although Anthony has been released from jail, there is no statute of limitations on murder charges.

Asked if he believed Jenkins should charge Anthony with murder, Walton told The Standard: “I think you should not be able to execute people for misdemeanors. Alleged misdemeanors.” 

'This Case Will Be Prosecuted in the Courtroom'

Earlier Monday, Jenkins said that if a final decision to charge is made, "this case will be prosecuted in the courtroom, not in the press or on social media." She also said if her office decides not to bring charges, she will release a report that provides a full accounting of the evidence and how the decision was made.

Walton is not the only supervisor calling on Jenkins to release video of the shooting. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a resolution from its president, Aaron Peskin, pressing for its disclosure.

The resolution so far has support from Walton, Joel Engardio, Connie Chan, Hillary Ronen, Myrna Melgar and Dean Preston.

Michael Barba can be reached at mbarba@sfstandard.com