An unarmed Banko Brown, 24, was fatally wounded as he exited a Walgreens in downtown San Francisco on April 27.
Last week, the office of district attorney Brooke Jenkins said it would not charge 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony for the killing because the security guard had been in ‘mortal danger’ and ‘acted in self-defense.’
But AG Bonta’s office said on Tuesday it would investigate whether the DA’s decision to not press charges was ‘an abuse of discretion’ – a legal term referring to officials acting outside their authority or based on bias or misinterpreted law.
‘We can confirm that our office has agreed to review whether the San Francisco District Attorney’s decision not to file charges was an abuse of discretion,’ Bonta’s office told CNN.
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta will review the San Francisco District Attorney’s decision to not charge a Walgreens guard who shot dead an alleged transgender shoplifter
An unarmed Banko Brown, 24, was fatally wounded as he exited the drugstore in downtown San Francisco on April 27
DA Brooke Jenkins said it would not charge 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony for the killing because the security guard had been in ‘mortal danger.’ Brown is pictured
John Burris, Brown’s family’s attorney, had requested the investigation into the DA’s decision in a letter sent to the AG’s office last week.
‘We received notice yesterday that they would take the case,’ Brown said in a statement on Wednesday.
‘This does not mean that they are going to prosecute but will do so if they conclude that the DA’S decision was an abuse of discretion. In essence, the failure to prosecute was contrary to the evidence.’
The lawyer added that Brown’s parents ‘are happy with the AG’s decision.’
The DA’s office reacted to news of the probe on Tuesday, saying they welcome it and will assist and cooperate as needed.
Graphic surveillance footage released on Monday shows Brown holding a bag as he walks toward the store’s exit. Anthony is then seen stepping in Brown’s path and confronting him about allegedly stealing from the store.
Anthony is able to pin Brown to the ground, but then lets him go and Brown walks out of the store, still clutching his bag.
More words are exchanged and then Brown appears to move slightly forward with his arms out, then backs up just as Anthony shoots him.
Brown collapses on the sidewalk outside the store and a crowd of people gather around him. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died.
In the report released on Monday, the DA citied ‘insufficient evidence’ that his actions equated to a murder or manslaughter charge. Instead, the evidence showed Anthony was ‘sincerely afraid,’ the DA’s office said.
Graphic surveillance footage released last week appears to show Brown holding a bag as he walks toward the store exit
His death sparked outrage across the Bay Area, but despite the many demands to charge Anthony, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office said Monday they would not be charging him
Floral tributes and candles where left in memory of Banko
‘All of this evidence strongly suggests that Anthony firing at Brown in self-defense was objectively reasonable,’ the report reads.
The report also notes that Anthony claimed Brown had repeatedly threatened to stab him. However, investigators reportedly found no knife at the scene or on Brown.
‘All of this evidence strongly suggests that Anthony firing at Brown in self-defense was objectively reasonable,’ the office’s report reads.
The report also notes that that Anthony claimed Brown had repeatedly threatened to stab him. However, investigators found no knife at the scene or on Brown, according to the report, but prosecutors still decided Anthony’s fear was reasonable.
‘While I understand, as a resident, you would say, “Well just let the jury decide,”‘ DA Jenkins said. ‘That is not the standard for charging we have to believe at the time that we charge a case that a jury of 12 will convict, not let’s just charge the case and see what happens.’
Protests erupted following the decision to not charge Anthony. At a meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, activists held up signs reading ‘Justice for Banko Brown’.
One protestor, who identified herself as Lia McGeever, erupted into a scream over the death of Brown, who was homeless and an intern with the Young Women’s Freedom Center.
She said: ‘I hate a lot of people on this board for the reasons that led up to Banko Brown’s death.
Speaking to The San Francisco Standard, Anthony said: ‘[I’m] still dealing with it, still don’t understand and don’t have the time to reflect.
‘It’s not like I go through this many times. This is a very life-changing matter.’
Anthony pointed to the pressure that security guards are under during these types of confrontations, saying: ‘This is important for more people to be more aware of,’ he said. It was happening too frequently.
‘It’s a lot to deal with. It’s a lot of pressure. A person can only take so much. When you are limited to certain options, something will happen.’
‘Who has my back? Nobody. You are left with no support. It’s a frightening feeling with a lot of people around you.’
Many local residents have since left floral tributes and candles in memory of Brown.
In a social media post, the Young Women’s Freedom Center wrote: ‘Our community stands strong together in the face of tragedy.
‘In times like these, we show up for each other and we fight for our folks, especially for our siblings that are taken from us way too soon.
‘Thank you to every voice that has spoken, every foot that has marched, and every fist raised in solidarity.’
The incident comes after a number of major chains announced they would be shuttering stores in San Francisco due to soaring crime figures.
Retailers including Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Office Depot and Anthropologie have all said they would be pulling out of the city.
Nordstrom chief stores officer Jamie Nordstrom blamed the state of San Francisco in recent years for reducing foot traffic ‘and our ability to operate successfully.’
Remaining stores like Target have been reduced to locking up their entire stock behind glass to deter shoplifters.