CA AG Bonta to investigate Jenkins' Banko Brown decision

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday May 24, 2023
Share this Post:
Banko Brown
Banko Brown

California Attorney General Rob Bonta will be investigating whether San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins made the right call in opting not to prosecute the killer of Banko Brown, the 24-year-old unarmed trans man killed by a security guard at a Market Street Walgreens.

"We can confirm that our office has agreed to review whether the San Francisco District Attorney's decision not to file charges was an abuse of discretion," Bonta's office stated to the Bay Area Reporter.

Attorney John Burris, who is representing the Brown family, told the B.A.R. on Wednesday that the family is pleased with Bonta's decision.

"I wrote him a letter requesting he do it and he responded to the letter by indicating they were going to look into the case," Burris said. "We made an urgent request and explained why we thought it was, and he responded and said they'd take a look at it and review it as abuse of discretion."

Jenkins issued a statement of her own, saying "we welcome the attorney general's review and will assist and cooperate as needed."

"I heard the public's concerns and we released a comprehensive analysis and report that included investigative records, witness statements and video evidence, so the public could see all of the facts and details and understand how we arrived at our decision," Jenkins stated. "We provided the highest degree of transparency possible that we could with this case."

In the hot seat

Jenkins has been in the hot seat since she announced her office would not prosecute the case against the security guard, Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony, 33. While police arrested Anthony on suspicion of one count of homicide following the April 27 shooting, he was released after Jenkins decided not to charge him.

"What I would ask is that this city trust that because I have a dedication, and I've demonstrated dedication to victims of crime for years, that they would know if I believe someone is guilty of a crime and we can prove it, I would proceed with charging that case," Jenkins told the B.A.R. on May 4.

Later, Jenkins stressed the ongoing nature of the investigation. Finally, on May 15, her office declared that "Anthony is not criminally liable for the death of Brown," alienating ideological and political allies who, seeing the security camera footage released last week> still question her judgment.

Supes ask for state, federal involvement

Among those calling for outside agencies to investigate the DA's actions are the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which voted unanimously Tuesday for a resolution asking Bonta as well as the United States Department of Justice to investigate. The resolution was introduced last week by board President Aaron Peskin and co-sponsored by District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, and District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston.

"I am heartened that the state attorney general has agreed to investigate whether District Attorney Jenkins abused her discretion," Peskin told the B.A.R. "The fair and equitable dispensation of justice will make San Francisco safer."

Mayor London Breed said during a downtown news conference last week that she supports Jenkins' decision and also that "I don't think that there's anything wrong with welcoming our California attorney general, or anyone else, to review the case."

United States Attorney for the Northern District of California Ismail J. "Izzy" Ramsey has not commented on the case.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.