San Francisco Security Guard Who Shot Alleged Shoplifter Speaks Out

The security guard who shot and killed a shoplifting suspect in self-defense spoke out about the incident Friday.

Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony is the security guard at Walgreens in downtown San Francisco. On April 27, Anthony shot and killed an alleged shoplifter, later identified as local transgender activist Banko Brown. In an interview with The San Francisco Standard, Anthony spoke out about the incident and the effects it has had on him.

“[I’m] still dealing with it, still don’t understand and don’t have the time to reflect,” Anthony said. “It’s not like I go through this many times. This is a very life-changing matter.”

Anthony declined to elaborate on the details of the shooting. According to a Thursday report from the San Francisco Standard, police said that Anthony tried to stop Brown from shoplifting. He was still standing inside the store when Brown walked out. Brown then turned around and allegedly spat on Anthony and raised a hand to him. It was at that point that Anthony drew his gun and fired.

Anthony pointed out that security guards like him are under immense pressure in confrontational situations like that, and that it happened very fast. “This is important for more people to be more aware of,” he said. “It was happening too frequently.”

“It’s a lot to deal with. It’s a lot of pressure,” he added. “A person can only take so much,” Anthony went on to say. “When you are limited to certain options, something will happen.”

Being a security guard is difficult because you are on your own in more ways than one, he added. “Who has my back? Nobody?” he said. “You are left with no support. It’s a frightening feeling with a lot of people around you” who could do you harm, he added.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement to news outlets Monday that after looking at surveillance footage and statements from both Anthony and witnesses, her office will not press charges against Anthony in the shooting. “The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense,” the statement read, via The The New York Times. The statement called the situation a “tragedy,” but said they could not charge Anthony in good faith. “We cannot bring forward charges when there is credible evidence of reasonable self-defense,” the office stated. “Doing so would be unethical and create false hope for a successful prosecution.”


In separate comments to the San Francisco Chronicle, Jenkins said that “both threats of force and physical force were used” in the confrontation. “It’s never easy to have to come to that conclusion,” Jenkins said, but “my personal feelings cannot be what governs my decision. It has to be the law.”

Jenkins’ decision prompted outrage from activists in the community. One such activist, Lia McGeever, vented her outrage during a city Board of Supervisors meeting. Declaring that “trans-genocide of this country, in this city, has brought me to” it, McGeever tore off her face mask and screamed for 10 seconds, pausing to yell, “Imagine that.” The activist screamed for another five seconds, then yelled, “I hate this. I hate what you’ve done to us. I hate what you’re doing to us. I hate you, board of supervisors. I hate you, London Breed. I hate you, Jenkins.”

After screaming for another five seconds, the activist yelled, “F*** you. F***ing ay, man. F***. Cowards.”

Hank Berrien contributed to this report.

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