Photo: Getty Images
  /  11.25.2022

On Wednesday (Nov. 23), prosecutors announced the police officers involved in the shooting death of 20-year-old Porter Burks would not face charges. As previously reported by REVOLT, officers responded to a call regarding the young man possibly having a schizophrenic episode.

The victim’s brother was concerned about Burks’ mental health and called the police to see if he could be admitted to the hospital. Five officers arrived to find the 20-year-old roaming his Detroit neighborhood with a 3.5-inch knife. Thirty-eight rounds of ammunition were fired at Burks and 19 of those bullets struck him. At the time, Detroit Police Chief James White explained that his officers fired because they saw the knife as a threat. “My condolences to the suspect’s family. Any time the department has to use fatal force, that’s not our desired outcome,” he added. “We’re looking at all aspects of the investigation, including body-worn cameras and talking to witnesses.”

Following the decision not to charge the cops, Burks’ aunt, Michelle Wilson, spoke to the Detroit Free Press about the situation. “I just can’t believe it. We’re devastated. The light they are trying to shine on Porter, that’s not who he was. He struggled with mental illness, but his past doesn’t justify what they did to him,” the grieving family member shared. “He was a smart, loving person. He was a human. That’s a life. He didn’t deserve to be murdered.”

Since his death, the victim’s family has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Detroit officers. Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney representing the family, considers Burks’ death an “execution by firing squad.” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy added: “The police spent a significant amount of time trying to get him to drop his weapon. He suddenly ran at them with the knife and covered the distance between them in approximately three seconds. Eyewitnesses to the shooting were interviewed and indicated that the police did all that they could to de-escalate the situation before Mr. Burks charged at the police.”

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