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Police Officer with a Rifle

Source: Douglas Rissing / Getty

In early October 20-year-old, Porter Burks was gunned down by Detroit police while he was suffering a serious mental health breakdown of paranoid schizophrenia. According to the Detroit News, one of his episodes was so severe that Burks believed that a squirrel was living inside of him. During the October incident, his family called emergency services for assistance but instead of help, they witnessed what is likely the most horrific thing any of them had ever seen.

When police arrived, Burks was holding a knife that they ordered him to drop. When he allegedly moved toward the officers, five of them began shooting a total of thirty-eight rounds, nineteen of which struck Burks and killed him.

The family has now filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Detroit and the individual officers who are responsible for the young man’s death.

The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County circuit court, claims gross negligence, assault and battery, “wanton & willful misconduct,” and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because of Burks’ mental illness

The entire interaction and shooting was captured on an officer’s body camera and that footage has been released to the public.

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The family’s attorney Jeffery Feiger argues that the officers could have used a non-lethal approach to the situation considering that they knew about Burk’s condition

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