Family of Porter Burks, man killed by Detroit police, seek justice

‘My little brother was good’

Porter Burks was shot and killed by Detroit police during a mental health check on Sunday and now his family is demanding justice.

DETROITPorter Burks was shot and killed by Detroit police during a mental health check on Sunday and now his family is demanding justice.

Police said the shooting was prompted by Burks charging at them with a knife.

Burks’ older brother Damondo Anderson spoke with Local 4 at a rally for justice on Friday. “He was a cool guy, he liked school, he liked to swim, he liked to dance,” Anderson said. “The normal stuff kids like to do.”

The 20-year-old’s death has sparked outrage in the city and has ignited a conversation about the mental health crisis in our state. Calls for change in policing, especially in mental health situations, are the result.

“My little brother was good, he was just going through schizophrenia.” Burks’ family said he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was having a psychotic break when his family called 911 for help.

Damondo joined demonstrators marching to the Detroit Police Department’s 2nd Precinct on Lesure Street. The protesters chanted for justice, demanding the officers’ names be released and they be held accountable for their actions.

“They need better training to apprehend them instead of just using guns,” Anderson said.

Detroit Police Chief James White addressed the officers’ response during a news conference Tuesday: “The officers also on the scene had to assess the threat and stop the threat,” White said. “There’s no time in three seconds and someone charging at you with a knife to look over to see what other people are doing.”

Anderson, who was there when his brother was killed, said he wished they never called the police. “That’s all my mind has been thinking about,” Anderson said. “I woke up this morning crying in tears. It shouldn’t have happened to my little brother.”

Burks’ family has enlisted the services of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, announcing plans to take legal action against the department.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of 2022. She is also studying political science and communications at Wayne State University.