Brooke Jenkins’ office released surveillance video of the April shooting at a Walgreens to justify the decision, which sparked protests from some in the city.
The video showed the moments the security guard shot and killed 24-year-old Banko Brown, a Black transgender man accused of shoplifting. Brown is seen walking out the door with a bag in his hand when he is stopped by 33-year-old guard Michael Anthony, who quickly starts throwing punches.
The physical altercation lasts 54 seconds before Anthony shoots Brown right outside the store’s doors.
Jenkins released a slew of videos as part of an evidence package announcing Anthony would not be criminally charged.
“That report outlines not only the facts of the case as well as witness statements, but the law,” Jenkins said at a news conference.
In a police interview, Anthony said he told Brown to put the items back and he’d let him go, telling investigators Brown became aggressive and threatened to stab him.
“It was a life-or-death situation,” Anthony told police.
No weapon was ever found on Brown. Civilian cellphone video captured the moments following his death as shoppers passed his body on the sidewalk.
Many were critical of Jenkins’ decision, including San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who said, in part, “Where is the perceived threat? DA Jenkins decision to not charge gives every armed security guard in San Francisco a license to have an open season to shoot and kill Black and transgender people for alleged shoplifting.”
Jenkins maintains Anthony believed in that moment he was in imminent danger.
“The law doesn’t require that you wait and see, is it a gun, is it a knife, is it scissors. The law allows you to have a perception and a belief so long as it’s reasonable,” Jenkins said.
Anthony was initially arrested on suspicion of homicide, but was released from jail just days later.
Through an attorney, Brown’s family said they believe he was killed in cold blood and they plan to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the security guard.