Community members rally, call on Detroit police to improve mental health-related responses

Comes after 2 fatal shootings during mental health checks

DETROIT – Community members rallied Saturday, calling on Detroit Police to improve how it responds to mental health crises.

The two demonstrations focused on the recent killings of two individuals suffering from mental health crises.

20-year-old Porter Burks, who was suffering from Schizophrenia and had a knife in his hand when police opened fire on him in October.

The most recent case happened Wednesday. Detroit Police officers shot and killed a 27-year-old mother of two after police say she had been violent towards her son and mother during a mental health crisis.

Chief James White said the woman had a gun when they made their move.

“The officers rushed inside the door when the door was opened, she went for the gun…officers fired shots,” White said Thursday.

Community activist Alexandria Hughes spoke during a rally Saturday about the systematic changes she’d like to see in Detroit.

“Around the country, we are seeing programs that focus on responding to mental health crises response and these are mobile programs that have unarmed people responding to them.”

At another demonstration, protesters demanded the names of the officers involved be released.

About the Author:

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.