SF prosecutors decline to charge security guard in fatal Walgreens shooting, cite self-defense

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Prosecutors decline to charge guard in fatal Walgreens shooting
San Francisco District Attorney's Office declines to pursue charges against security guard in fatal shooting at Walgreens, citing self-defense.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The security guard arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a person inside a San Francisco Walgreens last Thursday has been released from jail after prosecutors declined to pursue charges.

According to a statement released by the district attorney's office Monday, they decided to not file murder charges, at this time, after a review of the evidence gathered by the San Francisco Police Department.

The statement said in part, "The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense."

Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony is accused of fatally shooting 24-year-old Banko Brown during what police are calling a shoplifting incident.

"We cannot bring forward charges when there is credible evidence of reasonable self-defense. Doing so would be unethical and create false hope for a successful prosecution," the statement said.

On the same day Anthony was released from jail, loved ones of Brown held a rally in San Francisco to demand justice for his death.

"It's insane that Walgreens has armed security, there's nothing in that store worth a human life," Jessica Nowlan, a representative from the Young Women's Freedom Center said.

Julia Arroyo, co-Executive Director of the Young Women's Freedom Center said the rally held Monday for Brown was also to demand housing, specifically for Black trans youth.

"Being a Black trans man, it was complicated for him. To be inside of women's housing or men's housing. He was constantly being targeted and so he often talked about, 'where's my place for a home?'" Arroyo said.

She says Brown was one of their community organizing interns and like many of the people connected with the center, he had been experiencing homelessness since he was just 12 years old.

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A vigil was held Friday night to remember Banko Brown, a man killed in a shooting at a Walgreens in San Francisco.

"He was the next in line to receive his housing, and so they continued to tell him, you just got to call back every morning," Arroyo said.

But despite sometimes helping others get resources before him through the Young Women's Freedom Center, that call for permanent housing never came for Brown.

"I know that Banko called tirelessly to all of these places, waited in line for housing and was turned away so many times and I've just seen his urgency to get there and, this is the result," she said. "This is the result and we should all be ashamed of ourselves in San Francisco."

Police say this shooting was originally called in as a shoplifting incident, though a cousin who was with Brown Thursday evening tells ABC7 they were not shoplifting.

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Darren Stallcup, a neighbor who shops here daily, believes shoplifting in San Francisco is part of a much larger problem.

"People who are struggling to make a life for themselves, to build a life for themselves, are having an even more difficult time nowadays," Darren Stallcup, a San Francisco resident said. "What's happening right now in San Francisco is an absolute humanitarian crisis, this is not an isolated incident."

MORE: 'We're angry': Hundreds rally for transgender and drag queen rights in SF

San Francisco Mayor London Breed's office said they could not comment on the specifics of this case, but released a statement saying Breed announced a goal of ending trans homelessness last year and that the city has created a number of programs to support trans communities including the Our Trans Home SF Coalition, the Taimon Booton Navigation Center, guaranteed income programs and the Dream Keeper Initiative.

"San Francisco strives to be a national leader in supporting trans communities and helping people on the path to housing and stability in a country where too often the basic rights and safety of trans people are under attack," the Mayor's Office said.

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