UPDATE: San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced on Monday, May 15, 2023 that she will not be filing charges against the Walgreens security guard who shot and killed Banko Brown inside a Walgreens last month. Go here for the latest on Jenkins' decision plus the newly released surveillance video and homicide inspector interview with the security guard.
The I-Team's story can be seen below.
A witness tells the ABC I-Team that the standoff between a suspected shoplifter, 24-year-old Banko Brown, and a Walgreens security guard should not have ended in deadly force. All this comes amid new calls for the prosecutor to release video evidence in the case. I-Team's Dan Noyes has also spoken with Banko Brown's mother. She was so open. Banko Brown's mother gave us a lot of insight -- the challenges they faced, how he wound up on the streets at the age of 12, and her words for San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins.
The I-Team reached Banko Brown's mother, Kevinisha Henderson, on the job in Texas. She told us she's been working hard to break the cycle that began with her parents: "My parents were addicts, my dad, you know, addicted to crack, my mother to alcohol. I didn't have a very good child life."
Kevinisha said her own substance abuse issues led to problems with the law, and that extended family failed to care for her kids - including Banko - when she went to prison for domestic violence.
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Kevinisha Henderson: "They ended up in the streets of San Francisco at that time I was in prison."
Dan Noyes: "Boy, that's hard."
Noyes: "At what age was Banko on the streets of San Francisco?"
Kevinisha tells us she was ready to return to San Francisco more than a year ago, to find a home with Banko, but she kept having problems with the Texas parole system. "My son and I, you know, he had forgiven me. We began rebuilding our relationship. I've been able to be a mom since, you know, I've been in recovery for five years. And he was just waiting for me to come home."
Then, that confrontation at this San Francisco Walgreens, Thursday, April 27. An aspiring documentary filmmaker stood at the checkout. Donald Washington tells us several young people were shoplifting and that the security guard confronted one of them, 24-year-old Banko Brown.
RELATED: SF prosecutors decline to charge security guard in fatal Walgreens shooting, cite self-defense
Donald Washington: "I see the security guard and Banko on the ground over there. They're tussling, they're fighting, you know, I mean."
Noyes: "On the ground."
Washington: "Yes, just on the ground. As I put my stuff in the bag to leave, I hear a (makes spitting sound)"
Police say Banko Brown spit at the guard who towered over him. His mother tells me Banko was just 5'4" tall.
Washington: "Banko was like this."
Noyes: "He was squaring up."
Washington: "Yeah, like this, like, hey, what's up?"
Washington took cell phone video of the security guard, 33-year-old Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony. He says, Anthony threw Banko out of the store and headed back inside. "As I'm ready to leave the store, the guard, like, gives me a nudge. I'm like, hey, bro, say excuse me, something like that, right? So, he says, I'm sorry, bro. You know, then I hear him say, he say, damn, shit. I'm tired of this, man. Not today."
"Not today." Washington says the guard turned and headed for the door. "He walks outside, reach for the gun, bam, bam, it was quick, it was fast. It was like a movie. There wasn't no time. You know, it was already in his mind. You know, I mean, to do what he did."
On the cell phone video, you can hear Donald Washington telling Banko Brown, "Keep breathing, little bruh." Washington recorded the moments right after the gunfire, the security guard handing some gauze to the person rendering first aid.
RELATED: Protesters call on SF DA to release video footage in fatal Walgreens shooting
Police arrested Michael Anthony on a homicide charge, but three days later, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced she was releasing the security guard, saying, "He did express that he acted in self-defense and we did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to overcome that statement."
Jenkins now says the case is still open, she asked police to continue gathering evidence, and that the final charging decision has not been made.
Noyes: "As a former prosecutor yourself in San Francisco, what kind of a gift is that to a defense attorney?"
Brass: "Oh, it makes the case virtually unprovable for the district attorney."
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Tony Brass worked for the San Francisco DA's Office and the U.S. Attorney, and he's critical of Jenkins' handling of the case. "How can that be reversed? I mean, maybe there is a piece of evidence that she had no reason to believe existed, and then, now it does. But as a member of the public, I need to hear what that is."
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night urging Jenkins to release video evidence in the case.
And Walgreens has shuttered the store after angry protests - highlighting Banko Brown's work for transgender rights and the unhoused, and calling for charges in his death. I had one other question for his mother.
Noyes: "What would you like to say Brooke Jenkins, the district attorney?"
Henderson: "I would like to ask her to get in touch with her human side to understand that there are laws that she has to follow. I would like her to prosecute. $14 worth of candy is not worth a life."
Brooke Jenkins declined to be interviewed for this report, but she wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors explaining her position. Jenkins says if she decides not to file charges, she will explain why and give a full accounting of the evidence, including the video from that day.
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