It has been 1 year since Banko Brown was fatally shot by a SF Walgreens security guard

Tara Campbell Image
Sunday, April 28, 2024
1 year ago Banko Brown was fatally shot by a SF security guard
Saturday marked one year since a security guard shot and killed Banko Brown at a Walgreens in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- His death sparked protests and vigils but no criminal charges.

Saturday marked one year since a security guard shot and killed Banko Brown at a Walgreens in San Francisco.

"Banko was the type of person to give you the shirt off his own back. That's how much he thought about others. Even when he was struggling himself," said Julia Arroyo, executive director of the Young Women's Freedom Center, where Brown was coming into his own -- fighting for transgender rights.

RELATED: Family of Banko Brown sues Walgreens, security company and guard for wrongful death, attorney says

"He tried on positions at the center. He organized a talk about trans housing, particularly about trans-masculine folks. He taught us a lot," Arroyo said.

The anger is still felt over what played out in that Walgreens -- a guard suspected the 24-year-old of shoplifting. In the scuffle, he shot Brown, later saying he felt his life was threatened.

"One year out, that anger is just coming from that. There really isn't justice for Banko right now in this moment," Arroyo said.

The San Francisco District Attorney's office didn't charge the guard with Brown's killing, saying there was clear evidence it was self-defense.

RELATED: Outburst disrupts memorial service for Banko Brown in San Francisco

"A year after Banko Brown, sadly things have not changed. They've only gotten harder and harder," said Gael Lala-Chávez, executive director of LYRIC, a center in San Francisco serving LGBTQ+ Youth.

They say the attacks on transgender rights across the nation are taking a toll.

"I've seen the steady increase in youths coming from other conservative areas in California. Even other conservative areas here in the Bay Area, fleeing, obviously -- all over the country," Lala-Chávez said.

San Francisco is still serving as a beacon of hope.

RELATED: Banko Brown Death: Community reacts to SF DA's decision not to file charges against Walgreens guard

"In the last year alone, Tara, we've seen about -- I would say -- about 45% of our youth experiencing homelessness are coming from out of the state, out of the country," Lala-Chávez said.

But the increasing demand for services are strapping nonprofits desperate for more resources.

"It's really difficult times right now. We honestly don't know what to do. The only thing I do know is our doors will remain open. They have to for young people similar to Banko Brown," Lala-Chávez said.

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