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Memorial for Banko Brown

Source: Young Women’s Freedom Center / Twitter

UPDATED: 3:30 p.m. ET, May 17, 2023

A new video has been released of the shooting death of Banko Brown, a 24-year-old San Francisco Black transgender man and community organizer with the Young Women’s Freedom Center. 

In the video, which was released by San Francisco’s District Attorney’s Office, Brown can be seen tussling with the Walgreens security guard during a shoplifting altercation. After a lengthy fight, Brown manages to escape the clutches of the security guard and seems to be walking away when he is shot and killed in front of the store. 

The DA’s office announced Monday that they will not press criminal charges against Michael Anthony, the security guard who shot Brown, saying he acted in self-defense. 

“Given the totality of the circumstances, including the threat that Anthony believed, and could reasonably believe, the evidence shows that Brown’s shooting was not a criminal act because Anthony acted in lawful self-defense,” the DA’s office wrote in a report. “Thus, Anthony is not criminally liable for the death of Brown.”

Brown’s family disagreed, telling CNN that Anthony’s actions were “way beyond what was reasonable and necessary.”

“Stopping someone and talking to them is different than stopping them and beating them up and ultimately killing them,” said family attorney John Burris.

Banko Brown, a 24-year-old Black transgender man and community organizer with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, was tragically shot and killed outside a San Francisco Walgreens store last month.

On April 27, Brown was killed by a security guard who accused him of stealing $15 worth of candy. And what did the “justice system” do? It withheld the release of police statements and footage. Additionally, law enforcement let the security guard who killed him off the hook, claiming self-defense, even though Brown was unarmed.

Brown was a victim of homelessness for years. His tragic death has sparked public outcry and demands for justice.

Despite initial reports that the security guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, had acted in self-defense, it was later reported that Brown was unarmed. According to Mission Local, it is suspected that Anthony had followed Brown outside and shot him in the chest after kicking him out of the store. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins initially declined to file charges against Anthony, but after public pressure grew, she changed course. Brooke stated that the investigation is ongoing and that she has not ruled out filing charges.

On Tuesday evening, San Francisco supervisors unanimously passed a resolution urging Jenkins and the San Francisco Police Department to release police reports, witness accounts and video footage related to the killing of Brown. City residents also made impassioned pleas for the release of videos during public comment at the supervisors’ meeting before the vote.

The resolution was seen as a unifying force between the city’s progressive and moderate factions. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin stated that Banko’s killing was a “beyond tragic” situation that demanded transparency and accountability. In addition, Peskin also refuted allegations made by Jenkins that the resolution interferes with an active investigation.

The killing of Banko Brown highlights the systemic violence and discrimination faced by Black transgender people, particularly those who are unhoused and living in poverty. As Julia Arroyo, co-executive director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center, noted, “We proved to this Black trans young man…that he was not safe. He was not safe to go inside of that store.” It is a heavy reminder of the urgent need for structural change to address these major issues of homelessness, poverty and transphobia in the Black community.

Clarity and accountability are what the public demands in the killing of Banko Brown, seeking the release of all video footage and evidence related to this case in order for the victim to get the justice he deserves.


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