By David M. Greenwald
San Francisco, CA – San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins has repeatedly declined to prosecute a security guard, even after video called into question the guard’s actions at a Walgreens store in San Francisco that resulted in the shooting death of Banko Brown.
The family of Brown, represented by Civil Rights Attorney John Burris, will be filing suit against Walgreens and the security guard. The announcement will take place on Friday at a press conference, a day after the funeral of Brown.
Michael Anthony, 33, was working as a security guard for the Walgreens at 4th and Market Streets in San Francisco, when he shot and killed Brown, 24, on April 27 while Brown was allegedly shoplifting at the store.
Burris sent a letter to the Attorney General requesting that he look at the case for possible prosecution.
“San Francisco DA (Brooke Jenkins) has chosen not to file criminal charges against the security officer,” Burris told the Vanguard. “”We disagree with that.”
Burris believes that Jenkins abused her discretion in failing to prosecute the case.
“The DA I think abused their discretion by choosing not to prosecute in the face of evidence where it’s clear that the security guard was armed, had a gun and roughed up this young man,” Burris said. “The young man was going out, Banko Brown was going out the back door. He paused, flexed a little bit, and he shot him, but he was, the young man was on his way out. The officer was not in any kind of immediate or imminent danger to his life or the lives of others.”
This week, Attorney General Rob Bonta informed Burris that he would look into the case.
“Our view on this case is that this is easily a voluntary manslaughter case or a second-degree murder case, depending upon one’s perspective, but it’s certainly a crime,” Burris explained.
Burris was baffled that Jenkins would not prosecute here.
“It’s pretty outrageous,” he said. “Particularly when all the justification was being made by the DA to support a position of non-prosecution, you have to wonder why she would engage in that.”
Burris said while the family is pleased with the AG’s decision to look into the case, “there’s no guarantee that the Attorney General would do that (file charges).”
He said, “He has a political office and sometimes he makes political decisions.”
Indeed, Bonta is widely believed to be lining himself up to run for Governor in 2026 when Governor Newsom would be termed out.
Burris also announced that they would be “filing a civil lawsuit this Friday against Walgreens, the security company, the security officer alleging (committing) wrongful death and on, on that part, but also taking a real look at the policies, practices that Walgreens had for their security officers.”
This case has been wrapped up with concerns about retail theft. Private security and the retail establishments have begun arming security guards and have taken an aggressive posture of attempting to stop people as they attempt to leave the store.
Burris said, “When you have people with guns, you can very well have a shooting, which we have here.”
Unlike cases against police officers, this is not a federal offense. So the lawsuit is filed in state court.
“The question is what are the standards for a security guard,” Burris said. “We know that they’re not police officers, so they don’t have that particular standing. They have the standing of anybody else who uses deadly force.”
It comes down to was “your life endangered” and “were you protecting it.”
He said, “You can’t create your own subjective self-defense.”
Overall, Burris said, “We’re pretty outraged by it.” He said, “A young person’s life was taken over a petty theft and that action was initiated by the physical aggressiveness of the security guard.”
Burris added that the security guard “apparently had been a little disgusted with the job. He was becoming a little put out by the fact that every day he’s chasing down people like this. So he was on edge, as he said.”
Burris added, “The DA is supposed to take care of the crime and/or the city attorney, but they haven’t. That’s on them.”