The Walgreens security guard who fatally shot a suspected shoplifter in April will not face charges, the San Francisco’s district attorney’s office announced Monday.
Michael Anthony, a security guard working for Walgreens, reportedly killed 24-year-old Banko Brown while trying to stop Brown from stealing. Though Brown’s lawyers told HuffPost that Anthony was the aggressor, the district attorney said in a report released Monday that the security guard acted in self-defense.
According to the report, Anthony pinned Brown down after Brown became combative and “repeatedly” threatened to stab Anthony. Brown reportedly lunged at Anthony, who shot and killed Brown. When the police recovered Brown’s bag, they found items from Walgreens but no knife.
According to the report, Anthony told police that after he let Brown go, he thought, “Please don’t do nothing stupid.” When Brown lunged toward Anthony, Anthony felt “it was me or [him]” because Brown had threatened to stab him.
“After careful review of all of the evidence gathered by the San Francisco Police Department and my office in this case, we will not be pursuing murder charges in connection to the shooting of Banko Brown,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement. “After the case’s initial discharge on May 1, 2023, we sought additional evidence to refute the suspect’s claims of reasonable self-defense and to date have not found any evidence that did so. Without evidence to refute the suspect’s reasonable self-defense claim in court, we can not ethically meet our burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that a crime was committed.”
John Burris, the attorney representing Brown’s family, told HuffPost that Brown’s family is “disappointed” in the lack of charges and Burris plans to file a civil lawsuit against Anthony and Walgreens “very soon.”
“This security officer was the aggressor,” Harris said. “He attacked Banko at the very beginning, stopping him, manhandling him, punching on him, throwing him, beating him up, choking him.
“Essentially, an unarmed man was shot and killed at a consequence of a petty theft. There was nothing about the facts that would support this kind of use of deadly force.”
Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors asked Jenkins to release surveillance video of the shooting. Since the release of the video and Jenkins’ decision not to charge Anthony, protesters gathered outside the Walgreens where Brown was killed, seeking justice and holding signs that included messages like “We saw the tape … Banko was murdered,” according to CBS News.
Anthony was a security guard for Walgreens for more than a year, according to the report, and at the time of the shooting, he was the only guard in the store.