Activists call for mental health crisis unit in wake of fatal Detroit police shooting

Ash Daniels, lead organizer of the Care Not Criminalization Campaign with Michigan Liberation, speaks to a crowd of around 30 people at a rally Saturday.

Detroit — Local activists are calling for the establishment of an independent mental health crisis response team in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Porter Burks just over a month ago.

About 30 people attended Saturday’s rally at Adams Butzel Recreation Center despite snow, sleet and 35-degree temperatures.

It was organized by the Detroit Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm, community organizing groups like We the People MI Action Fund, Michigan Liberation, and Accountability for Dearborn, a group that demands transparency and eventually divestment from the Dearborn police.

Ash Daniels, the lead organizer on Michigan Liberation’s Care Not Criminalization Campaign, said the state lacks adequate mental health facilities to provide care for those in need, and Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by the lack of resources, she said.

“We need facilities where folks can go and numbers outside of the police when people are in a crisis,” Daniels said. “When the police show up in their uniforms, then the person experiencing a crisis usually tends to become more aggressive. And as seen in the past month, the results don’t bode well.”

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