Ex-Walgreens guard, security firm fined by state in connection with Brown killing

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Friday July 28, 2023
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A memorial to Banko Brown was on view May 1, before the start of a rally and vigil in support of the trans man who was killed by a Walgreens security guard April 27. Photo: John Ferrannini
A memorial to Banko Brown was on view May 1, before the start of a rally and vigil in support of the trans man who was killed by a Walgreens security guard April 27. Photo: John Ferrannini

A state agency has fined the former Walgreens security guard and the private security company he worked for in connection with the fatal shooting of Banko Brown, an unarmed Black trans man, earlier this year.

The California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, fined former security guard Michael Earl Wayne Anthony $1,500 on July 24 for having a concealed weapon and not wearing a security badge. The fine was not for killing Brown, 24, on April 27.

Kingdom Group Protective Services was fined $5,000.

"As a result of a Bureau investigation, it was discovered that on April 27, 2023, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony was involved in a shooting while on duty wearing a sweatshirt that did not have bureau-approved patches on each shoulder that read 'private security' and included the name of the company by which Anthony was employed," a letter from the bureau states. "It was further discovered that Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony was carrying a concealed firearm in a zippered pouch on the tactical vest he was wearing over his sweatshirt."

The agency had the power to fine Anthony because he is a registered security guard. He first obtained a registration January 20, 2012, the letter states, which will expire July 31, 2024, unless renewed. His most recent firearm permit expired May 31. He was issued a baton permit May 11, 2013 in perpetuity.

Anthony could not be reached for comment Friday.

His former employer, Kingdom Group Protective Services — which Walgreens had contracted with to provide security at the Market Street Walgreens where Anthony shot Brown after the latter allegedly attempted to shoplift $14 of snacks and a Sprite — was also fined by the bureau according to a July 13 letter. The bureau accused the company of failing to keep an accurate record of Anthony's trainings, and of not filing an incident report within seven business days of the killing.

Walgreens cut ties with the company in the weeks after the shooting. Kingdom Group Protective Services told the Bay Area Reporter it has no comment for this report.

Civil rights attorney John Burris is representing Brown's family, who is suing Walgreens, Anthony, and Kingdom Group Protective Services. That civil suit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

During a police interview after the shooting, Anthony said Kingdom Group had switched its recovery policy for stolen merchandise just that day to a "hands-on" policy.

"Walgreens is responsible — it's Banko's blood on their hands, because they put in motion hiring these security guards," Burris said in a May 26 news conference. "Of course, you have the security guard company, because they sent a person out there who was not emotionally fit to be there."

Asked about the fines July 28, Burris told the B.A.R., "I'm surprised they'd [Kingdom Group Protective Services] have him [Anthony] working but I think it goes to the lack of willingness to ensure their workers were being compliant with state law. My feeling is that, given that he had no badge apparent, uniform apparent, and a gun in a concealed manner, it's conceivable Banko Brown didn't know he was being attacked by a security officer. That may have escalated the situation."

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins declined to prosecute Anthony, citing self-defense, in a decision criticized even by some of her supporters. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ask California Attorney General Rob Bonta's office to investigate. Bonta's office confirmed it is looking into the matter of whether Jenkins' decision not to file charges in the case was an abuse of discretion.

The Board of Supervisors had also asked the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene, but as the B.A.R. recently reported, it punted the case to Bonta's office.

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