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Drug Raids: Cops Shoot Michigan Student Over "A Few Tablespoonfuls" of Marijuana

Grand Valley State University film student Derek Copp is an avowed marijuana aficionado, reform activist, and a "a left-wing hippie peace-keeping liberal," according to his Facebook page. As of last week, he is also a victim of the drug war, or, more precisely, of police heavy-handedness in enforcing what appears to be a petty violation of the marijuana laws. Copp was shot and seriously wounded March 11 by a police officer who was part of a task force raiding his residence with a search warrant.

According to a compilation of local media accounts of the shooting, an Ottawa County deputy coming through the apartment's back door shined a flashlight in Copp's face, causing him to raise his right hand to cover his eyes. The officer then fired one round, striking the student in the chest. Copp said he had no idea the man who shot him was a law enforcement officer.

"He never even had a chance to even see who was coming at him, with a bright flashlight in his face," said his mother, Sheryl Copp. "He had no clue. He heard someone knock on his door, and he had no clue."

According to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, Copp was shot in the chest by a sheriff's deputy acting as a member of the West Michigan Enforcement Team, which consists of Ottawa County deputies and members of the Michigan State Police. Police have not identified the deputy, nor is it known whether he has been suspended. Investigators said Copp, 20, did not threaten or confront police when they entered his home. Nor have they revealed the search warrant, what they were looking for, or what they found.

But an attorney hired by Copp's family after the shooting said it was all over a very small amount of marijuana. In a Tuesday statement, attorney Frederick Dilley said: "I have been asked what drugs may have been seized by those executing the search warrant at Derek Copp's apartment. To my knowledge, the raid resulted in the seizure of a few tablespoonfuls of marijuana, and nothing more," Dilley continues, "The primary concern remains the manner in which this raid was carried out. And the apparent lack of any justification whatsoever for the use of force... much less deadly force in executing a search warrant."

Dilley is not alone in his concerns. The Grand Valley State University Student Senate issued a statement the same day wishing "Derek a full and complete recovery" and questioning police conduct. "Even though this incident took place off-campus," the statement said, "Student Senate is greatly concerned with the actions of the law enforcement team. Student Senate will await a full and complete explanation from the Michigan State Police. Like all students, we want to know why the West Michigan Drug Enforcement Team entered Derek Copp's apartment and why a firearm was used."

Even the university president demanded to know what had happened to one of his students. In a Monday e-mail to the university community, President Thomas Haas wrote: "The fact that this incident took place off-campus diminishes neither my interest nor my concern. The university's campus security staff was not involved. Like many of you, I await a full and complete explanation from law enforcement, and I have made a formal request for such information. I want to know what brought the Enforcement Team to Derek's apartment and why a firearm was discharged."

The shooting has also led to at least two protest demonstrations by students demanding answers. "Justify This Shooting!" demanded one sign held by a demonstrator. "We want answers!" read another. "Marijuana or not, unjust shot!" and "Our campus is not a war zone!", students chanted at a campus demo on Friday.

The Michigan State Patrol is investigating the shooting. That means the state police are investigating themselves, since the Western Michigan Enforcement Team consists of state police and Ottawa County sheriff's deputies.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

i get it police are going to save the children from marijuana

so they can murder them .im sick of police shooting our children and they can say we saved them from marijuana .

Save them!?!?!?

Yeah, kill the little demons! We'll teach them not to use alcohol. Why should they, not be risking their lives, like the rest of us boozers! Them and their nasty weeds! ; P

There is one for you . One, non-traffic related, death because of a cannabis .........Well, almost! Now where are those statistics on the traffic related deaths?

I know he did not die! (note: almost)

He suffered GSW to the chest penetrating his liver. It could have been much worse!

There was no reason for the cop to even have his gun out of his holster. If this was an accident, which it could have been, it was an accident waiting to happen. (better referred to as negligence) But, when it was just a "stoner" shot, the public will look the other way. You know the cops were protecting all of the "good " people from this "stoner"! I like the Agitator, too!

smoke pot

get shot

your a cop

this is how our current corrupt police people think....its an easy job thats why we get the low lifes that are too laze to actually work. Hell he can shot you , steal your stass and lie about the whole thing....and feel good

poor guy

i wish him a fast road to recovery. Maybe this will be a shot heard around the world?

Police are Sowing More Seeds for Civil Unrest

Stories like this are only going to get more folks on the side of ending the drug war. No one has EVER died from a marijuana overdose, but plenty have been shot by police for possessing it.


Street Justice

If that cowardly cop-thug does not face consequences for his criminal act, he should face street justice. Period.

its past time these crimnal cops escape justice

if that was my boy .id gut that slimeball and his buddies who would try and defend that coward .god dam that son of a bitch.if a man ever needed killin its him

You sound like a cop!

Ever see a gun go off accidentally? I have, in my own hands. A shotgun and a rifle. Both pointed at the ground, where they were supposed to be! The fact is, anyone with any gun sense knows not to point a gun at another human, if you don't plan to shoot him! And, you shoot to kill! I am waiting for the final report on this one. It, so far, does not sound like an accident. Sounds like he shot him because the victim raised his arm to shield his eyes from the bright flashlight. Time for a demotion! No more guns for the next desk sergeant! Dumb ass shouldn't have, even, had his gun out! It was a gunshot wound waiting to happen!

Why in the world does a big bad cop have to have his gun out of his holster in a case like this? It is a negligent act, at the least. And, just a sign of the escalation that happens, from tactics, like this, used by the cops involved in the DRUG WAR! This happened when it could have been just as simple as a knock at the door! He was a dangerous criminal they busted for less than an ounce of grass? Maybe, it was his last name that scared them!?

These cops are low-life cowards!!

Same goes for the DEA!

why dont you start shooting the f*ing police?

F* police. Shoot them in the back of the head so they are unrecognizable.


Shoot 'em in the face, so they see it coming. After all, cops are WARRIORS in a DRUG WAR, whose job it is to fight and die. Right? Let's give 'em what they want.

Investigating themselves?

Ya know.... the next time someone is gonna get popped for something, maybe we should let them investigate themselves. Wouldn't you like the opportunity to investigate yourself?


Do you remember when the best sheriff out there was Andy..he was so good he never carried a gun....but then there was his deputy Barney, Fife alway had a gun , not that he could use it, and for the publics safety was limited to one bullet. Today we seem to have only Barneys and alot more ammo. We need to start defunding these police units that would be a good start.

Defunding won't work

When you defund police departments, they just start confiscating more property to fund themselves. Hey, I know. Let's criminalize tomatoes. Suppression centers...excuse me, police departments all over the country can start profitting from the forfeited property of all those damn liberal hippie tomato growers!

Why is pot illegal, again?

Oh yeah, because of the death and destruction it causes to society.
Okay, now I'm confused.

Of course pot is illegal!

Just look at all the poor, innocent children who are shot, beaten, robbed, and have their lives ruined each year by pot.

Of course, it's the drug laws that are responsible for that, not the drug itself.

Re: why is pot...

No. it was because the "new" (early 1900s) NYLON rope companies weren't making any money. Hemp, on the other hand....

Read your history. the REAL history.

Re x 2

Ooops, I meant to post to the one above this one....

And a survivor is born

If this young man wasn't heading down the activist path before, then he surely is now.

Cops can't you see you're not acting like humans? Drug war = police barbarians.

Wake up, wake up fast

more information everyone!!!

check out our facebook group above for more information about the events, protests, etc...

thank you!!!


I love reading articles from people who back the establishment "until" something dreadful happens; to late at that point, don't you think. I have been on the front of legalization for over 30 years. I marched in protest to Viet Nam, and for the most part taken up arms against the establishment ever since. You wanna be anti establishmenters, are nothing but alot of bullshit; why don't you go reelect Bush. Fuckin losers

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