Video of Black trans man’s fatal shooting released
San Francisco’s district attorney has released video footage of the death of Black trans man Banko Brown, who was shot and killed outside Walgreens store by a security guard.
Brown, 24, was fatally shot by security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony outside the downtown San Francisco drugstore on 27 April. He was unarmed.
District attorney Brooke Jenkins released the surveillance footage on Monday (15 May) alongside a 25-page long report detailing her reasons for not filing charges against his killer.
Prior to the footage’s release, police stated an argument broke out between the two when Anthony accused Brown of shoplifting, with the security guard drawing his weapon and firing when the disagreement got heated.
The newly released footage appears to show Brown walking at speed to leave the shop and Anthony, 33, tackling him, a volatile tussle ensuing with Anthony punching him, throwing Brown to ground and lying on top of him.
Brown eventually steps outside the shop’s front doors and the video recounts the moment Anthony drew his gun and fired a single shot at Brown’s chest, which knocked the man to the ground.
Other customers are visibly shocked and distressed by the gun fire.
The six-minute long clip is taken from CCTV footage inside the store and does not have any audio.
WARNING: The embedded video contains scenes of violence and a fatal shooting and may be distressing to watch
In the report Jenkins wrote: “Anthony reports that Brown repeatedly threatened to stab him. Anthony had Brown pinned down and released Brown after telling Brown repeatedly that he would let Brown go if Brown calmed down.
“Anthony released Brown, stepped back, and drew his firearm because of the stabbing threats, but pointed the firearm at the ground.
“Brown grabbed the bag of goods off the floor, made for the exit, then turned and lunged in Anthony’s direction, after which the shot was fired. Anthony said he shot because he was in fear for his safety.”
However, John Burris, a civil rights lawyer who is representing the Brown family, disagreed with Jenkins’ report.
He told the Bay Area Reporter that he did not believe it was a “justification for the shooting” and as the stabbing allegation was not mentioned in Anthony’s exclusive interview with The San Francisco Standard, it could have been “just made up afterward”.
Burris said: “It seems to me the officer was being aggressive, physically controlling, and beating up on Banko, who ultimately broke loose and went out the door.
“He turned and was facing him, and he was shot. I haven’t seen any evidence Banko was lunging toward the officer.
“It seems the use of deadly force was unconscionable and unnecessary.”
The lawyer added: “I don’t agree with the DA’s decision not to charge – at the very least, it could be a manslaughter case.”
However, in response, Jenkins told the Bay Area Reporter that detail was not released to maintain the integrity of the police investigation.
The DA told the free weekly LGBTQ+ newspaper: “We, of course, had not related specific facts of the incident prior to today because we wanted to flesh out the investigation and make sure it was done in an ethical way.
“I’ve talked very generally before but no specifics until now.”
John Hamasaki, who ran for district attorney in 2022, told The Guardian it is “beyond comprehension why charges wouldn’t be filed”.
Hamasaki, a former member of the San Fransisco police force, said: “We see cases filed all the time when there’s a fight and somebody pulls out a gun and shoots.
“You don’t get to execute somebody once the threat is over, and that appears to be what’s happening.”
Protests in wake of Banko Brown’s death
Banko Brown’s death – and the district attorney’s subsequent decision not to press charges – sparked widespread protest, with locals calling it “nothing short of a lynching”.
On Monday (16 May) a further rally took place in the wake of Jenkins’ report being released, with around 50 people marching down to the Walgreens where Brown was shot.
They held up signs which read “DA Jenkins: Prosecute Michael Anthony” and “Justice for Banko Brown”.
The 24-year-old was a community organiser who reportedly worked with Black trans youth and has recently come unhoused.
Julia Arroyo, the co-executive director of local non-profit Young Women’s Freedom Center, knew Brown and described him as a “loving person” who would give the “shirt off his own back” to help someone out.
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