Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MI cops shoot unarmed, 20-year-old marijuana activist

by Stephen C. Webster

A 20-year-old university student in Michigan is hospitalized and in serious condition after police shot the man Wednesday while serving a drug warrant. He was unarmed, investigators said.

Coming through an apartment's back door, an Ottawa County deputy allegedly shined a flashlight into the student's face, causing him to raise his right hand in front of his eyes.

The officer, whose name was not released, fired a single bullet into Derek Copp's chest. The 20-year-old Grand Valley State University student, who survived the shooting, said he had no idea the man was an officer.

"He never even had a chance to even see who was coming at him, with a bright flashlight in his face," said Sheryl Copp, Derek's mother, in a 24 Hour News 8 report. "He had no clue. He heard someone knock on his door, and he had no clue."

Copp's parents insist their son is not a drug dealer. However, he appears to be a marijuana activist, stating on his facebook page he likes to "SMOKA DA BOLSKI" (smoke a 'bowl') and on his YouTube page, in a video titled 'Hippie Lunchtime Hour,' he makes references to baking marijuana-infused brownies. In another, he plays the fictional role of an acid dealer whose friend goes on a psychedelic journey through cliché colors.

Copp's parents were not notified of the shooting by police, reported CelebStoner. They allegedly found out six hours later.

The officer is on paid administrative leave. Police have not said whether they found any drugs in Copp's apartment.

Monday, a group of about 25 protesters gathered outside the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department holding signs which read, "Don't shoot, I'm unarmed" and "Why did you shoot my friend?"

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