Unarmed GVSU Student Shot During Drug Investigation

An Unarmed GVSU Student was Shot During a Drug Investigation

On Wednesday evening, an unarmed Grand Valley State University (GVSU) student was shot by Ottawa County police during the execution of a search warrant at the Campus View Apartments in Allendale.

The warrant was part of an ongoing drug investigation being conducted by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WMET).

Reaon for Shooting Unclear: Student was Unarmed and No Confrontation Ensued

Various media reports citing police spokespeople say that the student–Derek Copp–was shot by an Ottawa County deputy. Initial reports indicate that Copp was shot through an open sliding door as police entered the apartment. The student was unarmed according to state police. Moreover, they say that their initial investigation shows “there was no confrontation as they were coming in. Preliminary investigation shows the subject was not armed and that is all we know at this time.”

No arrests were made.

Following the shooting, Copp was transported to Spectrum Health in downtown Grand Rapids. He is in “serious condition” with potentially life-threatening injuries.” Copp was struck in the chest.

According to Copp’s parents, he did not know what was happening at the time he was shot.

The deputy who fired the shot is currently on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. The deputy is reportedly a 12-year veteran and has been a part of the West Michigan Enforcement Team for two years.

Reports from residents at neighboring apartments also have not cited any sounds of a struggle or confrontation.

GVSU Students Mobilize to Oppose Shooting

Word of the shooting has spread rapidly, with students creating a Facebook group called “Protest for Peace @ GVSU!!!! – In Response to the Shooting of Derek.” Out of that group grew a protest which took place earlier this afternoon on Allendale’s campus.

According to news reports, around forty students gathered on GVSU’s Allendale campus to protest the shooting. Students held signs such as “We Want The Truth,” “Shooting? Why?,” and “Why Was My Friend Shot?.”

GVSU Administration Largely Silent on the Shooting

The Grand Valley State University (GVSU) administration has been silent on the shooting, saying only in statement that a student was injured during the execution of a search warrant.


Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org

6 thoughts on “Unarmed GVSU Student Shot During Drug Investigation”

  1. While I’m glad the media is actually paying attention to this, it speak a lot to what get attention in the media. People are shot all the time unjustly by cops and never get a word of attention. There was little to no media outcry for oscar grant or for the man shot 50 times on his wedding night, or for the numberless others that suffer at the hands of police.

    Instead it takes the shooting of a white college student to draw outrage from a community. It really shows whos lives are valued more.

  2. It’s kind of ridiculous to claim that the deaths of Oscar Grant or “the man shot 50 times on his wedding night” (his name was Sean Bell) weren’t covered in the media.

  3. It is ridiculous that this is being made out to be a race issue. Regardless of color, the media will expose the situation heavily. And like any other shooting, this will too dissipate in the weeks to come when and if they tie up all the loose ends. Lets not make this personal.

  4. Race is clearly an issue in the War on Drugs, as is discussed in the commentary now up on MM that I wrote on Derek’s shooting. And it’s definitely true that this case would not be getting as much attention as it has if Derek were not a white college student. These kinds of things happen all the time to poor people and people of color, and no one utters a peep about them. There’s an undeniable racist bias in the mainstream media.

    All of this is a reality, and it’s wrong, and we should name it as such. But it’s also wrong what happened to Derek. Folks are mobilizing in West Michigan in response to what happened to him, and that’s a good thing. I think the best thing that could come out of this situation is a) justice for Derek, and b) increased attention to the unjust and racist nature of the War on Drugs.

  5. This is certainly a travesty, the officer was clearly in the wrong for shooting an unarmed man holding his arm over his face in what was likely the universal gesture of “don’t hurt me!” It was unconscionable for the police to not notify his family, and their behavior has been generally reprehensible in this case. That said, I am certain that this would have slipped through the cracks if Derek had been black, poor and living in the ghetto. Imagine the headline: “Black Dude Shot By Police, Nation Shrugs.”

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