Activists march for Porter Burks, who was killed by Detroit police during mental health check

DETROIT – For the third time in less than a week, activists marched on Detroit’s west side demanding justice for Porter Burks, who was shot and killed by police officers during a mental health crisis.

It was a small but determined group that marched for Burks Wednesday as they wanted to know the names of the officers involved in his death, amongst many other things.

The group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) came together Wednesday (Oct. 12) night to make some noise over the police shooting of Burks.

“We want to know the name of the cops involved, and we want them fired and jailed for murder,” said Benjamin Royal.

Burks, 22, had a mental health emergency on Oct. 2 when his family called for help. Detroit police responded and found Burks with a knife on Snowden Avenue and Lyndon Street near his home.

Police tried to talk him down, but they said Burks refused to drop the knife he was carrying and charged the officers, which is when five officers fired 38 shots at the 22-year-old.

Read: Activists demand the names of Detroit officers involved in fatal shooting of Porter Burks

“Nobody should be bringing guns to a mental health crisis,” Royal said.

“What we really need is more mental health services, but above all, what we really need is those killer cops locked up, and their names made public, so we know who they are.”

The Detroit Police Department said they investigated every aspect of the tragedy. They say one officer drove Burks to the hospital while another performed chest compressions until they arrived.

“There is absolutely no justification for the execution that they committed against Porter Burks,” Royal said.

Royal says Burks’ family has participated in past marches they’ve organized since his death, adding they are torn up and angry over what happened.

Read: Detroit police release video of fatal shooting of man with knife during mental health check

An internal investigation is occurring, and Michigan State Police are conducting a criminal investigation. Once that has concluded, the findings will be sent over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

The family has enlisted the help of attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.