San Francisco DA Defends Decision Not to Charge Black Trans Man’s Killer

Author: Trudy Ring

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins is continuing to defend her decision not to press a homicide charge against a security guard who killed Black transgender man Banko Brown, but she says the investigation is still open and other charges are possible.

Brown, 24, was shot to death April 27 at a Walgreens in the city. Police said he was shoplifting. The shooter was security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33. He was arrested on suspicion of homicide but was released soon afterward, with Jenkins saying, “The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense.” However, police said Brown was not armed, according to The Bay Area Reporter.

Brown was experiencing homelessness and sometimes spent the night on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains. He was seeking housing while also trying to help others, working as a community organizing intern with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, which assists young women and trans youth who have experienced poverty and other difficulties.

Jenkins’s decision not to charge Anthony “has become a lightning rod in the city, touching on the already salient issues of race, class, homelessness, alleged shoplifting, and the LGBTQ community,” the Reporter notes.

In a Thursday interview with the Reporter, Jenkins continued to defend her action. “What I would ask is that this city trust that because I have a dedication, and I’ve demonstrated dedication to victims of crime for years, that they would know if I believe someone is guilty of a crime and we can prove it, I would proceed with charging that case,” she said.

Activists and politicians in the city have denounced Jenkins’s decision, as have Brown’s parents. Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has asked her to reconsider it. But she told the Reporter, “I’m not deferring to someone else’s expertise or judgment call.”

However, she has asked the San Francisco Police Department to investigate the case further. “It’s still an ongoing investigation, still an open case, so I’m not yet at the point [when] I can publicly reveal all of the facts,” she said. Because of this, she can’t release the security camera video of the altercation, she added. “We don’t release evidence to the public. … Should we charge that case, I will open myself up to the defense saying we’ve tainted the jury,” she said.

But because the public hasn’t seen the video, there has been “fearmongering” regarding Black and LGBTQ+ people, especially those experiencing homelessness, said Julia Arroyo, co-executive director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center.”

“Folks are saying very mean, nasty, hurtful things that have no fact to it, and so by people not seeing the video, it’s perpetuating violence against the trans and LGBTQ community and Black young people, people navigating poverty or houselessness,” Arroyo told the Reporter.

Jenkins had informed Brown’s father and stepmother, Terry and Barbara Brown, before she announced that Anthony would not be charged. But they are not satisfied with that decision, nor with the unavailability of the video, their attorney, John Burris, told the paper. Burris declined to say if the family will sue, but he said that first of all, the video should be released.

Jenkins did describe the video briefly to the Reporter. “I can say that this began as an ordinary shoplifting, and at the point when the security guard indicated that the things didn’t need to leave the building, it escalated to a robbery,” she said.

Arroyo said nothing in the incident merited the use of deadly force. “We have to create legislation that armed security guards should not exist in San Francisco,” she said. “There’s nothing of so much value in Walgreens to rationalize taking a person’s life. It looks like it was $14 worth of candy, and there’s no excuse for a murder even, especially, if there was no weapon.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring


My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 12 years, together for 25 and living with our partner of 4 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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