Porter Burks Bio – Porter Burks Wiki,
Porter Burks, who was experiencing a mental health crisis when police fatally shot him, is suing the city of Detroit and five police officers, family attorney Geoffrey Fieger said.
Porter Burks was 20 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
Porter Burks, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was experiencing a psychotic break on the morning of October 2, 2022, before police fatally shot him, Detroit Police Chief James White said last month.
His brother had called the police to ask that they help get Burks safely to a hospital for treatment, according to the lawsuit. Police said that after confronting Burks on a nearby street and repeatedly asking him to drop a knife, he refused and eventually charged at one of the responding officers, according to White.
Five officers fired 38 shots at him in roughly three seconds, police previously said. According to the autopsy report from the Wayne County Medical Examiner, provided to CNN by the family attorney, Burks had 19 gunshot wounds, including two in his head and six in his chest.
“If in our society we don’t understand that you don’t shoot sick people 19 times in the head and the face when they’re having a psychotic break and when there’s … a handful of other nonviolent means in order to deal with them, then we’ve lost our way,” Fieger said during Tuesday’s news conference.
The killing adds to a list of fatal encounters between police and Americans suffering a mental health crisis. Experts have said the massacre highlight a dire need to revisit who responds to these emergencies and how.
“I was asked the last occasion I was here what would I say to families if they’re having a mental health crisis, should they call the police, which is the only people they can call? And my answer is no,” Fieger said.
The complaint, filed by Fieger on behalf of Burks’ mother, Quieauna Wilson, who represents her son’s estate, accuses five unknown Detroit police officers of gross negligence, assault and battery, and wanton and willful misconduct. It also accuses the city of Detroit of violating the state’s Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act, which require government entities to make information available to the public upon request, with some exceptions.
Detroit police have not named the officers involved.
“The chief has failed to provide the names of the officers who were involved” in Burks’ killing, Fieger said Tuesday, despite a direct request from the family attorney. “To date, for the last two weeks, I’ve received nothing,” the attorney said.
In an email to CNN, the police department said, “All officers are on paid administrative leave. There (have) been no resignations. This is an ongoing investigation.”
White, the police chief, held a news conference two days after the fatal shooting during which police played clips of the body cam footage. But the agency has not made the full footage available to the public.
“Despite our requests, (police) have not been forthcoming with any information,” the family attorney said. “I mean zero information, to me or the family. We will obtain those tapes,” Fieger said.
The Michigan State Police, overseeing the investigation into the incident, previously told CNN that a task force comprised of Detroit police officers and state police detectives is investigating the incident. CNN reached out to state police for an update on the investigation’s status but has not received a response.
In addition to all the documents related to the shooting and investigation, the family is also seeking damages, plus “costs, interest and attorney fees,” according to the suit.