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

Video of Banko Brown shooting gives critics of S.F. DA Jenkins fuel for protest
Video of Banko Brown shooting gives critics of S.F. DA Jenkins fuel for protest 06:59

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco District Attorney's Office on Monday released a declination report that includes the Walgreens surveillance video showing the moment that the store's security guard fatally shot Banko Brown.

In addition to making the surveillance video of the incident public, the declination report provides more details behind the district attorney's decision to not file charges in the case, including civilian cell phone video, police reports and a video and transcript of the police interview with Walgreens security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony.

District Attorney Brook Jenkins announced two weeks ago that the 33-year-old Anthony, would not be charged in the deadly shooting that happened outside the Market Street Walgreens on April 27.  

BANKO BROWN CASE: Read the SFDA's Declination report (includes links to disturbing video)

Jenkins spoke with the press Monday afternoon to discuss the release of the video by her office. She noted the importance of the police interview with Anthony and how it impacted her decision not to charge the security guard with homicide.

"I would really urge people to listen to his interview," Jenkins said. "It is long, but it goes into great detail about his mental state at the time the pieces of this incident were playing out. Moment by moment. That is very critical. That is the most critical part of our analysis is what he expressed."

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At the time of her announcement that the security guard would not be charged, Jenkins said that Anthony ended up using lethal force in self defense, firing a single shot from his firearm that ultimately killed Brown.

"We had to evaluate the video, the statement of the security guard, multiple witness statements to figure out whether or not there was a credible claim of self defense. And we ultimately did not believe we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt here that the security guard had committed murder or any other crime," Jenkins explained at the time.  

Banko Brown shooting confrontation
Banko Brown shot in deadly confrontation at San Francisco Walgreens. San Francisco District Attorney's Office

She noted that in the surveillance video of the encounter and witness interviews, it was apparent that physical force, violence and threats of violence were used by Brown as he tried to exit the store and take the items in question. The only weapon found in the incident was the gun used by Anthony.

Jenkins and her office have been under intense public pressure to release the surveillance clip showing the deadly encounter. The declination report and associated video and documents offered up a more detailed picture of why Jenkins did not pursue charges against Anthony.

"Because of the extraordinary public interest in this case, the District Attorney's Office produced a declination report and is making publicly available evidence reviewed and analyzed in rendering this decision," the declination report stated. "The scope of the report is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence supports criminal charges being brought against the suspect."  

The full clip showing the fatal shooting has been posted to YouTube by the District Attorney's officeWARNING: The clip is graphic and disturbing.

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

"I believe there will still be an emotional reaction to what people see [on the video]. That's human," Jenkins said Monday. "What I want people to know is that we are transparent, that what the standard of law is and how we arrived at this decision. But I do understand there will  be an emotional reaction"  

The video shows Brown walking into Walgreens, collecting items from two different shelves and then walking towards the rear of the store. While walking down an aisle, Brown grabs a bag from a shelf and places it into a bag he was carrying with him when he entered the store. 

Anthony and Brown do not have any contact with one another until Brown moves to exit the store without having paid for any items.

As Brown approaches the exit, Anthony appears to reach his hand out, with his palm facing upward, as if to ask for something. Brown initiates contact with Anthony, shoving the security guard before the guard grabs him and the two fall to the the ground.

San Francisco District Attorney's Office releases surveillance video in Banko Brown shooting 17:31

After holding Brown to the ground for 15 to 20 seconds, Anthony stands to create distance from Brown and pulls out his firearm. Brown proceeds to get up and grab the bag with the items and moves towards the store's exit. 

"As Brown approached the exit, he turned back towards Anthony," the report reads. "While Anthony and Brown are facing each other, Anthony is seen holding a firearm in his right hand still pointed towards the ground. As Brown was walking out of the store, Brown suddenly turns toward Anthony and moves as if to lunge at him."

It was at that point that Anthony shot Brown.

According to the report, Anthony told police "he thought he was in a potentially life-and-death situation because Brown had been aggressive" and "did not know what Brown was going to do next." 

The security guard told police he did not draw his weapon over the stolen items, but rather "because he was concerned for his safety after Brown repeatedly threatened him and indicated he was going to stab him." 

Two witnesses both said it appeared that Brown was lunging back towards Anthony to strike him.

When asked on Monday why she would not just let a jury decide in the case, Jenkins replied, "Again, look at all of the  evidence -- the video, his interview, the witness statements. Everything. While I understand as a resident you would say, 'Just let the jury decide.' That is not the standard for charging. We have to believe at the time that we charge a case that a jury of 12 would convict, not let's charge a case and see what happens."   

Jenkins also defended her record as being fair as a prosecutor towards both the Black and Trans communities during the press conference. 

Banko Brown shooting: Former judge explains self-defense criteria 06:11

"From the time I stepped foot into this office as an assistant prosecutor eight years ago, I have tried to make sure that I was a fair representative and an advocate for the Black community; that I was a fair representative to the Trans community," she said. "For almost two years I was the hate crimes attorney in this office, During that time I filed numerous cases involving hate crimes against the Trans community. "  

"I went to trial in one of those cases that involved a Black Trans woman who was hesitant to testify and who I got onboard and we got justice in that case. The perpetrator of that very violent attack now sits in prison," Jenkins added.

Former prosecutor Tony Brass said the video raises a number of questions, but he's not sure how conclusive it would be for a jury.

"It's really conspicuous, I think, how the guard is able to overpower the victim rather handily. He puts the victim on the ground and is certainly overpowering him at that point," said Brass. "I don't know. This case is one of those. If the question is would I charge it? 'I don't know' is the answer. I would struggle with it."  

The district attorney acknowledged that the public will continue to struggle with the case. That, she says, is why she released the video.

"The fact that we released this report, and this evidence, is not an ordinary situation. That is not something that we normally do in criminal cases,"  Jenkins said. "But this, as we know, is an extraordinary set of circumstances that has had growing concern among San Franciscans, and even beyond. And for that reason, I felt it was appropriate for our office to take an extraordinary step, and be more transparent than normal in this process."

When asked if the Banko Brown case had brought on any new thoughts on how the city addresses the problem of property crime, she reiterated that the city needed to look at how to deter retail theft, noting that there recently were two security guards fatally shot in San Francisco and Pleasanton in encounters with shoplifters.

"Now we sit on the opposite side of this, having somebody who was engaged in a theft be killed. I recognize, again, that we are at a critical point in society to have to figure out what we think is appropriate in the way that we deal with this retail theft issue," Jenkins said. "I have not arrived at a conclusion. I do think it's a conversation that needs to be had amongst everybody involved."

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton issued a statement following the release of the video.

"I have watched the video several times, Banko Brown was clearly walking backwards, after being thrown to the ground, punched, and abused by the security guard for several seconds," Walton said. "The security guard successfully subdues Banko and lets him go. Banko walks backwards and is executed. The security guard had the upper hand the entire time and even told Banko that he was letting him go as stated in the transcript released by the DA. Where is the perceived threat? DA Jenkins' decision to not charge gives every armed security guard in San Francisco a license to have an open season to shoot and kill Black and transgender people for alleged shoplifting."

The statement added that Walton planned to join Board President Aaron Peskin in calling for a review of Jenkin's decision to not file charges in the case by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Brown, who struggled with homelessness, worked as a community organizer for the Young Women's Freedom Center, a nonprofit that provides support for young women and trans youth.

"We do not need to see the video to know that Banko Brown's killing was unjustified. Armed force is not a justified response to poverty," said Julia Arroyo, the center's co-executive director, in a statement Monday. "We must live with the sobering reality that he was killed for no other cause but $14."

Arroyo has described Brown as smart and funny young man who, while shy, made friends easily.

People gathered at 6 p.m. Monday for a rally to protest the District Attorney's decision not to charge Anthony. It began outside the Walgreens location on Market Street before the group of about 100 protesters marched to City Hall.

Wilson Walker contributed to this story.

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