Officers are avoiding charges in the shooting of a Detroit man with a mental health crisis

Detroit police officers involved in Fatal shooting A 20-year-old man who experienced a mental health crisis in October acted in self-defense and will not face charges, the Wayne County District Attorney’s office said.

A report from the district attorney’s office said the officers acted in self-defense because they spoke to Porter Burks using his first name, asked open-ended questions, asked him what he wanted, and then offered to take him wherever he wanted to go if he put a knife down.

The officers repeatedly asked Birx to drop his weapon, which can also be seen in the body camera video released by the police department. A statement from the prosecution said Birx repeatedly refused to drop the knife and the officers did not “make any threats or use any aggressive statements or tone”.

Prosecutor Kim Worthy described the shooting as a “truly tragic case”.

“Mr. Birx has a long history of mental illness, violent behavior, and a penchant for carrying knives, which his family reported to the responding officers,” Worthy said in a statement. “It was previously alleged that he cut down two people and a seven-year-old girl in 2020. The police spent a great deal of time trying to get him to put down his weapon. He suddenly ran over them with the knife and cut the distance between them in about three seconds. Witnesses of the shooting were interviewed and indicated that the police She did everything she could to de-escalate the situation before Mr. Birx charged the police.”

She added, “Unfortunately, Mr. Birx was shot and killed by officers in self-defense and the defense of others.”

Bodycam footage released by the Detroit Police Department shows Porter Burks during the incident when he was fatally shot in Detroit, October 5, 2022.


Birx has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to his family. His brother, Damondo Anderson, was the one who sought help from authorities on Oct. 1 claiming he was “worried about people” because his brother was walking around the neighborhood with a knife and was having a “real bad fit,” according to police. Anderson also told officers his brother was frantic and slashed his tires, which can be seen in the body camera footage.

Detroit police said they fired 38 rounds in three seconds at Birx. According to the district attorney’s investigation, Birx ran approximately 40 feet in less than three seconds toward the officers. Before collapsing, he was about six to eight feet away from the officer who tried to get him to drop his knife. The prosecutor’s investigation also indicated the use of a taser but there is no evidence as to whether the taser had an effect on Birx.

The report follows an announcement by the Birks family earlier this month that they plan to sue four unnamed officers for $50 million in manslaughter, according to the family’s attorney, Jeffrey Viger.

Viger alleges that Detroit Police Chief James White “failed to provide Porter Burks with the names of the officers who participated in the execution-style killing.”

The Detroit Police Department did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Fieger’s comments.

“The President, despite my request to him directly to provide everything, the videos and everything related to this case… So far for the past two weeks, I have not received anything,” Figer said at a press conference on November 1. suit. They did not provide any information.”

white in statement On November 23, he called the shooting a “tragic event” and called for additional resources for individuals with mental illnesses. He thanked Worthy’s office for the “substantive review”.

“Their independent review confirms that our officers’ actions were justified under the circumstances,” the statement said.

According to Fieger, the autopsy report on Burks reveals that police did not fire any shots at close range, and that Burks was shot at least 19 times in the head, face, chest, arms, and legs.

Fieger did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegation’s findings.

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