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Demonstrators demanding justice for Banko Brown rally in San Francisco

Demonstrators rally in S.F., demand justice for Banko Brown
Demonstrators rally in S.F., demand justice for Banko Brown 03:02

SAN FRANCISCO --  Demonstrators gathered Sunday outside of the Walgreens on Market Street in San Francisco where Banko Brown, an unhoused Black transgender man, was killed over $15 worth of candy that police said he stole from the store on April 27.

Supporters, friends and activists marched from the Walgreens to San Francisco City Hall. 

"We want them to release the tapes and we want justice for Banko Brown," said one speaker.  

UPDATE: San Francisco District Attorney's Office releases surveillance video in Banko Brown shooting    

The crowd chanted Brown's name along with "Black Lives Matter" and "release the tapes " and called on District Attorney Brooke Jenkins to release video of the encounter between Brown and an armed security guard who tried to stop him for shoplifting. 

UPDATE: San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins asks for patience in Banko Brown investigation

Friends described Brown as a community organizer with the Young Women's Freedom Center. He struggled with homelessness for years. 

"We proved to this Black trans young man -- and I say 'we' because I think it's all of us collectively as a community in San Francisco -- is we proved to him that he was not safe. He was not safe to go inside of that store," said Julia Arroyo, co-executive director of the Young Women's Freedom Center.

Brooke Jenkins said the guard would not be charged with murder, citing evidence of reasonable self-defense. Her office said it is not releasing the video because it is part of the investigation. 

"Unfortunately, I'm limited in what I can share as this is still an ongoing investigation ... There was force and violence used as well as threats of violence that occurred during this incident toward the security guard," Jenkins told KPIX on May 1.

On Monday, Jenkins released a new statement, asking for the public to be patient as her office continues to investigate the case.  

"The investigation into the killing of Banko Brown is ongoing. I hear and understand the concerns from people calling for transparency, but releasing any evidence before the investigation is complete could compromise the investigation and is unethical."

She also said she refuses to try the case in the media.

"If a final decision to charge the suspect is made, this case will be prosecuted in the courtroom, not in the press or on social media," she wrote. "All evidence will be presented in the courts."

The decision not to charge the guard has upset Brown's friends, supporters and activists and has stirred debate over public safety. 

"Actually not releasing these tapes perpetuates more violence and violence against trans youth... No matter what it is, this person did not deserve to be the judge, jury and executioner in this young person's life. Whatever was taken out that store was not worth a person's life," Arroyo said. 

State senator Scott Wiener (D-S.F.) called on Jenkins to release evidence, including video and witness statements, to the public. 

"The community is in pain and people are angry that this happened, especially with some of the information that's come out and, at this point, I think it's just really important to be transparent with the community so that people know what happened," Wiener said. 

Supervisor Matt Dorsey whose district includes the Walgreens on Market Street, said he plans to have conversations with Jenkins and police chief Bill Scott, before deciding how he will vote on a resolution before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday urging release of the video.

He said in a statement to KPIX: 

"I understand the D.A.'s concerns about publicly releasing video evidence while there's an investigation underway but that's a practice I've seen the police department do in the past when it's in the public interest. In fact, that's SFPD's standard procedure for officer-involved shootings. Having worked in investigative offices for most of my career, I'm generally inclined to defer to investigators -- but there's obviously a strong public interest in transparency to consider here. I'm genuinely undecided at this point."

"Black youth deserve to feel safe in San Francisco and poor and trans youth deserve to feel safe in this city and that's what we want to happen here,"  Arroyo said. 

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