Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, Walgreens security guard avoids charges after killing alleged shoplifter Banko Brown inside San Francisco outlet after it’s ruled employee acted in self defense. Alleged shoplifter was found not to be in possession of weapon.
California prosecutors have elected not to file charges against a San Francisco security guard who shot and killed an alleged shoplifter inside a Walgreens outlet after it was ruled they acted in self-defence.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said her office had declined to prosecute Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33, who fired at 24-year-old Banko Brown inside the Walgreens on Market Street last Thursday.
Jenkins said that after reviewing security footage and witness statements, it was clear the security guard acted in self-defense when the suspect appeared to use force and violence to try to flee the store with merchandise.
‘The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense,’ Jenkins said in a statement. ‘The killing of Mr. Banko Brown on April 27, 2023 was a tragedy and my heart breaks for his friends and family.’
‘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 continued.
Shoplifter found not to be in possession of weapon
At the time of the incident, Wayne-Anthony was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, only to be released from jail days later. Of note, Jenkins noted that the only weapon found in the incident was the gun used by Anthony.
Walgreens and the security company that employed Anthony had little to say other than a brief statement by Walgreens.
‘We are offering condolences to the victim’s family during this difficult time. The safety of our patients, customers and team members is our top priority, and violence of any kind will not be tolerated in our stores. We take this matter seriously and are cooperating with local authorities,’ Walgreens said in a statement.
Xavier Davenport, Brown’s friend and mentor, said it made little sense for the security guard to kill the young man for shoplifting, saying it’s something that’s done every day in the city.
‘A bunch of people steal from this Walgreens every single day. I know because I used to be a loss prevention manager for Old Navy for years, for almost more than a decade,’ he told CBS. ‘Why this black young boy had to be taken away so senseless from something that everyone in this community and everyone around San Francisco does?’
The Young Women’s Freedom Center also disputes the DA’s conclusion, identifying Brown as a transgender activist and community leader who had been struggling with homelessness since he was 12 years old.
‘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.
The group gathered outside the Walgreens on Monday in protest of the shooting and to demand justice for Banko, who helped young people and transgender people also living in poverty.
San Francisco plagued with extreme income divide and relentless shoplifting
‘We are beyond devastated by Banko’s passing. He was a smart and funny young man who, though shy, made friends easily,’ Arroyo said in a statement. ‘He was resilient and tenacious and loved by our whole community.
‘We need immediate funding for community-based housing that responds to what young people want for themselves. Instead of terrorizing and killing youth, we need real investment into their safety.’
San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office said it would not comment on the specifics of the case, but noted that the city had announced last year it would work to end trans homelessness.
San Francisco has since created a number of support programs, including the Our Trans Home SF Coalition.
‘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.
San Francisco which hosts a wide income divide between haves and have nots, continues to be plagued by widespread shoplifting, with the National Retail Federation’s 2022 retail security survey ranking San Francisco/Oakland as the second-most hard-hit metropolitan area by theft in 2020 and 2021, behind only Los Angeles.
According to data, San Francisco’s richest households — those making more than 95% of the population — made at least $574,000 a year, almost 11 times the income of the city’s poorest households, which made no more than $53,000. The city’s high cost of living has also driven an affordability crisis.