One day after San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins released video of the fatal shooting of Banko Brown and said she would not file charges against the security guard who killed him, the Board of Supervisors formally took steps to call on federal and state authorities to review the case.
On Tuesday, Board President Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution calling on the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Attorney General’s Office to review the case. That resolution will be voted on next week.
Following the board’s action, outraged speakers condemned Jenkins’ decision and called on the board to vote for Peskin’s resolution.
Speaking to the board, Joshua Bell said that the killing of Brown and Jenkins’ actions send a message to trans and LGBTQ+ citizens that they are not safe in San Francisco.
“Two bags of candy now cost you your life in SF,” Bell said.
Julia Thompson, an organizer at Young Women's Freedom Center where Brown volunteered, said she, too, was in disbelief when Jenkins declined to charge Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony in the fatal April 27 shooting sparked by Brown's apparent attempt to steal from the store.
“We do not need to see the video to know that Banko Brown’s killing was not justified,” Thompson said. “He was killed for no other cause but $14.”
Not all speakers centered their comments on condemning the DA.
One unnamed woman who called into the board said that shoplifting is endemic in the city and Brown was not solely a victim.
An unnamed man who also called in said he was part of the city’s “silent majority,” who feel the city needs to take stronger action against all types of crime.
Brown was shot and killed by Anthony after trying to leave a Walgreens in Downtown San Francisco with several items he allegedly stole. Security camera video footage shows Anthony stopped Brown and the two briefly fought before separating. Brown then left the store and turned to face Anthony, who shot him once. Anthony later told police he feared for his life because Brown had threatened to stab him.
No weapon was found on Brown, a Black trans man. Anthony is also Black.
Jenkins said she refused to prosecute Anthony because the evidence showed that he shot Brown in self-defense.
However, before Jenkins released the video of the killing—a decision she said was not due to political pressure—Supervisor Shaman Walton had sent letters to the DA, Walgreens and the San Francisco Police Department asking for them to release the footage. Walgreens requested a meeting with the DA after the company received Walton’s letter, according to an email obtained by The Standard.
Meanwhile, Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott have voiced their support for Jenkins, while Breed also backed outside review.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with welcoming our California attorney general or anyone else to review the case and make a determination," Breed said Tuesday. "My hope is there’s full transparency, and we get the kind of accountability in any case that will serve to help the public and the family understand exactly why a decision was made.”
Scott has said his department would continue to keep the case open after Jenkins initially announced she planned not to pursue charges against Anthony. The chief lauded Jenkins for her transparency, saying that while the decision was difficult, he would not criticize the DA.
But state Sen. Scott Wiener echoed many of Tuesday’s speakers.
“I respect the criminal process in San Francisco, and I respect the District Attorney and the difficult choices she has to make every day,” Wiener said in a statement. “But a lack of any criminal responsibility for this shooting makes no sense to me.”
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org