In a statement released on Thursday, attorney Geoffrey Fieger addressed on behalf of the family of Porter Burks, who was shot and killed by Detroit police over the weekend during a mental health check.
Five police officers opened fire on Burks, ultimately resulting in his death early on Sunday morning. The family decided to hire Fieger as their attorney. The police said they had to shoot Burks because he had charged at them with a weapon.
Fieger added, “We had what I regarded to be an awful circumstance that happened in the city of Detroit, in which an obviously mentally ill young man was killed by a firing squad of five cops shooting, supposedly, 38 times toward or into his body.”
Fieger has said that after Burks’ mother is named personal representative of the estate, a lawsuit would be launched against the officers and the Detroit Police Department.
Police Chief James White of Detroit released video from officers’ body cameras on Tuesday (October 4). He said that he felt a “abundance of openness” required him to reveal the new information.
According to the chief, the police fired dozens of bullets in less than three seconds as Burks came at them with a firearm because they are instructed to “stop the danger.”
To find out how many times Burks was shot, an autopsy is being performed on him on Thursday, as stated by Fieger.
Fieger said that training that includes the execution of young people who are obviously mentally ill is “grossly insufficient, incompetent, and senseless.”
According to Fieger, White’s briefing on Tuesday served as “propaganda” and “cover” to hide the truth.
Fieger asked Chief White, “Now, Chief White, please explain to me why when you’ve got a young, 20-year-old, mentally ill young guy, who is stating, I think, on the tape, “I just want to go home and rest,” you can’t figure out a better way to deal with him than killing him by firing squad.” I’m an attorney.
To clarify, I do not have any training or experience in the police force. Not that I think I am. But you know how to shoot Porter Burks with a tranquilizing pistol if he were an animal, a terrible animal, a tiger, a lion. For what reason would you unleash a barrage of 38 bullets on him? How could you possibly treat him worse than a wild animal? For what possible reason would you do that?
You’ve got a whole bunch of gear. You said that you disabled all of the autos. Roll up your windows and drive up to him if a three-inch knife makes you nervous. If you have one of those armored bomb disposal trucks, bring it along.
A knife that is just three inches long would have no effect on them. Wow, check at all that protective gear! A full complement of protective gear for the police? Protective headgear is worn by them. They’re armed and protected with a chest plate and armour. They are covered with bulletproof vests. Say what? You can’t send an officer after someone with a three-inch knife because you only have 45 feet of execution equipment? Obviously, that’s not true.