Watch CBS News

California upholds San Francisco DA's decision to not file charges in Banko Brown killing

Raw: Surveillance video shows moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Banko Brown
Raw: Surveillance video shows moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Banko Brown 01:01

The San Francisco district attorney's decision to not charge a Walgreens security guard in the fatal shooting of Banko Brown was not an abuse of discretion, California's top prosecutor said.

The office of California District Attorney Rob Bonta on Monday shared letters sent out by the office last week to civil rights attorney John Burris and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that explained Bonta's position.

Walgreens' security guard Michael Anthony shot and killed Banko Brown on April 27, 2023. The deadly shooting happened after a physical confrontation that stemmed from Brown being suspected of shoplifting.

Anthony was initially arrested, but he was released and charges were never filed, a decision that was not without controversy.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins at one point said she would not prosecute the security guard because the guard "believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense." She later said investigation was ongoing, and she was up against a legal deadline to either charge the security guard within 72 hours or release him from custody.

Then, a week after the shooting, Jenkins announced there would be no charges filed. Jenkins pointed to surveillance video being a key factor, which was not initially released. Pressure mounted for Jenkins to release the video, and members of the Board of Supervisors called on the city to do more and to release the video.

Jenkins said releasing the video while the decision to whether or not to charge Anthony was ongoing could have potentially affected the investigation. Ultimately, the video was released, and it sparked a protest outside of the Walgreens store where it happened.

Those who attended the rally then marched to city hall.

While some decried the DA's decision, others applauded Jenkins for her actions. And toward the end of May 2023, it was announced her decision would be reviewed by the California Attorney General's Office at the request of Brown's family.

On Monday, Bonta's office said Jenkins decision was not an abuse of discretion.

"In making crime-charging decisions, prosecutors must believe that the admissible evidence is of such convincing force that it would warrant a conviction of the crime charged by an objective fact finder beyond a reasonable doubt after hearing all of the evidence and considering the most reasonably foreseeable defenses such as self-defense.  In this case, the San Francisco County District Attorneys' Office did not believe a prosecution would result in a conviction," Bonta's office said.

Brown was a 24-year-old Black trans man. A funeral service for him was held in May 2023. Family and friends said he struggled with poverty and worked as a community organizer for the Young Women's Freedom Center, a nonprofit support young women and trans youth. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.