Family of Detroit man killed by police during mental health crisis sues city and 5 officers for $50 million


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By Minyvonne Burke, NBC News

Porter Burks was shot by police 38 times. (Courtesy Geoffrey N. Fieger)

The mother of a young Detroit man shot ., more than a dozen times by police during a mental health crisis filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city and five unidentified officers.

Quieauna Wilson’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, who filed the suit Tuesday, told reporters at a news conference that officers “executed” Porter Burks on Oct. 1. 

“There’s absolutely no excuse for the execution of Porter Burks under the facts and circumstances of this case. The Detroit police had a myriad of alternatives available other than executing him by firing squad,” Fieger said, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The lawsuit, obtained by NBC News, described Burks, 20, as someone who liked to dance and listen to music but said he had struggled with his mental health since high school. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had been in and out of the hospital for treatment, the lawsuit said, noting that his family or Detroit police officers would take him there.


The edited video did not show the moment Burks was shot. In the moments before, he appeared to be waving his hands above his head before moving quickly toward the officers. Fieger said in the lawsuit that police fired 38 rounds.

Learn more about Burks’ murder and this case.

This isn’t the first time police responded with force to someone in crisis. Police often respond to mental health crises when social workers would be more appropriate, which is why LA schools have hired mental health support.

More articles like this.

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