A Black Detroit man with schizophrenia was experiencing an episodic crisis when he was reportedly shot 38 times and killed by police on Sunday.
Footage from a crisis intervention officer’s body camera shows 20-year-old Porter Burks, who was allegedly holding an 8 inch folding knife with the 3.5 inch blade, roaming in the street near Snowden and Lyndon at approximately 5 a.m, Detroit Free Press reported. His brother, Damondo Anderson, called the police for help and can be heard in the video reporting that Burks slashed his tires.
Later, the crisis intervention officer can be heard repeatedly negotiating Burks to put the knife down.
“I just want to help you, man, OK? Can you do me a favor and drop the knife? Can you drop the knife for me? Please? Please, whatever you’re going through, I can help you. Porter, you’re not in any trouble, man,” the officer said.
However, the video appears to show Burks running towards the officers before he was fatally shot, according to Detroit Police Chief James White. He claimed at a Tuesday news conference that Burks was about six feet away from officers after the last shot was fired.
While numerous officers responded to the scene, only five fired their weapons, according to Detroit Police executive team director Christopher Graveline, ABC News reported. He also confirmed that the department had previous knowledge about Burks’ mental health.
“In March of 2020, he stabbed two family members, a sister…he stabbed her in both her neck and her hand,” Graveline said at a Tuesday news conference, per the news outlet. “As well as a brother in the top of his head as the brother came to defend the sister.”
“What we have found unfortunately is a system that has failed Mr. Burks on several different occasions,” Graveline said. “That schizophrenia manifested itself into violent behavior. We have seen a pattern of him being brought to psychological services and being released and not being followed up with taking his medication.”
Attorneys for the family of Burks are reportedly planning to file a lawsuit against the police department and the officers involved in the tragic shooting. The names of the officers have not been released.
“We have what I consider to be an intolerable situation that occurred in the city of Detroit, in which a clearly mentally ill young man was executed by a Detroit Police Department firing squad of five officers,” attorney Geoffrey Fieger said during a Thursday press conference.