Family of Calif. man killed by Walgreens security guard files wrongful death suit

May 27 (UPI) -- The family of Banko Brown, a transgender Black man who was shot dead by a security guard outside a San Francisco Walgreens, has filed a wrongful death suit against the pharmacy chain and the guard involved.

Kingdom Group Protective Services, who employed the guard, was also named in the suit stemming from the April 27 slaying, according to a filing in San Francisco County Superior Court.


Brown was shot dead by security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony after claiming he had shoplifted items from the store.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins decided not to press changes, which has prompted protests and outrage among some members of the community.

The DA's report on the shooting stated that Anthony claimed Brown had threatened to stab him.

"Anthony reports that Brown repeatedly threatened to stab him," she says in the report.

"Based on the criminal investigation, review of evidence, and evaluation of the case, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges against Anthony," the DA concluded.

Critics the decision, however, contend that no weapon of any kind was found on Brown.


California Attorney General Rob Bonta has decided to review Jenkins' decision not to press charges to determine if it was an "abuse of discretion."

"I'm serving a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that his life was wrongfully taken," Brown family attorney John Burris told reporters Friday.

The lawyer said Brown's "life was taken unnecessarily" and that the death was "as a consequence of what Walgreens did by putting in place policies that caused a security officer to think for whatever reason that he could shoot and kill a person over petty theft."

"I think we're in a position to show that Walgreens, security company, and security officer in fact are at fault," he added.

The lawsuit alleges that Walgreens' policy to "forcibly detain suspected shoplifters" marks a move away from "longstanding security policies of avoiding escalating confrontations with people suspected of minor property crimes into potentially lethal-force encounters."

The suit also alleges that Kingdom Group Protective Services is legally culpable for having hired an "emotionally distressed" individual to work as a security guard.

"This is one of the few cases that is most, most, most disturbing," Burris said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I've been involved in a lot of death cases, and this death case seems so woefully unnecessary because there was a choice that was made."


Kingdom Group Protective Services released a statement in response to the killing.

"We are fully cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of this extremely unfortunate incident and are deeply saddened by the loss of Banko Brown's life. At this time, we are not permitted to comment further," the company said in a statement distributed to media outlets.

Burris said the family is seeking at least $25 million.

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