Detroit police said they fired 38 shots in three seconds at Porter Burks, a 20-year-old schizophrenic black man who was in apparent mental health crisis, killing him.
During a Tuesday news conference with Detroit Police Chief James White, clips of body camera footage of events leading up to Sunday’s deadly shooting were shown. The body camera footage shown was of a trained crisis intervention officer identified in the video as Shawn.
In the video, officers can be heard negotiating with Burks, who was allegedly armed with an 8-inch blade knife, ordering him to put it down and offering to help him.
“You’re not in trouble, just drop the knife and we’ll get you help,” the officer said in the video.
Burks can be seen in the video running toward officers before being fatally shot.
“It’s unfortunate, but this was a life-threatening situation,” White said. “This is a tragic situation. Every time we use violence, it’s not the result we want. Every time we use deadly force, it’s the worst outcome,” he added.
Burks was too far from law enforcement for a taser to be effective, White said.
Detroit Police Executive Team Director Christopher Graveline said there were numerous officers at the scene on Sunday, where Burks was killed, but only five fired their guns.
Due to the ongoing Michigan State Police investigation, White said he is not releasing the full names of the five officers involved, but they are all currently on administrative leave.
Burks was diagnosed with schizophrenia three years earlier and had a mental health episode, according to his brother Damondo Anderson, who called the police for help.
In the body camera video, Anderson tells police that Burks was upset and slashed his tires. Anderson claimed he was “concerned for people” because he was armed with a knife.
According to Graveline, police were aware of Burks’ mental health condition. They responded multiple times on separate occasions — two incidents from 2020 in which Burks stabbed his siblings.
“In March 2020 he stabbed two family members, a sister … he stabbed her both in the neck and in the hand,” Graveline said at the press conference. “As well as a brother in the top of his head when the brother came to defend the sister.”
“Unfortunately, what we have found is a system that Mr. Burks has failed on several occasions,” Graveline said. “This schizophrenia manifested itself in violent behavior. We saw a pattern where he was referred to psychiatric services and discharged and not followed up on his medication.”
White said they need “help with the system”.
“The system failed, Mr. Burks,” White said.
Fieger Law announced Wednesday that Geoffrey Fieger will represent the Burks family and will hold a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
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https://abc13.com/porter-burks-detriot-police-schizophrenic-black-man-killed-by-officers/12300031/ Detroit police fired 38 shots at Porter Burks during a mental health crisis.