Community leader wrongfully detained while wearing a shirt without any underwear or pants

Francis Akhalbey April 26, 2023
Derrick Cooper was wrongfully detained by L.A. deputies -- Images via KTLA

A respected community leader in Compton said he felt “violated” and “humiliated” after L.A. deputies handcuffed and took him out of his home while he was wearing just a shirt and had no pants or underwear on.

In an interview with KTLA, Derrick Cooper, who is the founder of the L.A. City Wildcats Youth Academy, said he never called law enforcement officials to his home. It turned out the deputies had gone to the wrong address.

“I did not call for the sheriff or the police to come here. There was no need for them to come here,” Cooper said. “I felt so humiliated and violated. I’ve never felt that way in my life.”  

The deputies were said to have entered the Black man’s home around 4 a.m. on April 18. He was later handcuffed and brought outside. “I wake up to guns and flashlights in my face,” Cooper recalled, adding that the lights and disturbance that ensued inside his home left him confused.

Cooper, who was in bed when the law enforcement officials entered his home, was instructed by the deputies to show his hands, get up and make his way toward them. “I told them please don’t shoot me,” he said. 

As he was walking towards the deputies, Cooper asked if he could wear more clothes as he only had on a shirt, but the deputies declined his request and took him to a patrol car outside, per KTLA

“I knew I was going to die that morning because you hear ‘L.A. County Sheriffs’ and guns are drawn,” Cooper said. “The first thing that went through my mind was Breanna Taylor, all of these people that have died in their apartments because police came in their dwellings.”  

Cooper wasn’t wearing any underwear or pants when he was taken out of his home. 

“I just can’t believe this happened to me. My dignity, you know, you parade me out here on Compton Boulevard with no underwear. Don’t you have any compassion?” Cooper asked. “I’m a Black man trying to do something positive, trying to be a part of something that’s going to leave a legacy for my family, in my community and it was almost taken away from just like that, and all I get is, ‘I’m sorry, we’ve got the wrong building.’ It’s unacceptable, man. I am a human being.”

Cooper told ABC7 this is not the first time he has been wrongfully detained by the Sheriff’s Department. Though he did not sue the first time, it appears that won’t be the case this time around.

“Definitely the intentional infliction of emotional distress,” Cooper’s attorney, Person-Lynn, said. “There’s the battery, the assault, there’s the unlawful entry and violation of his 4th amendment rights.”

Person-Lynn also said they intend to file a claim against the county. “I expect so much more from our law enforcement,” Cooper said. “We need them. We want them to do what we need them to do and that’s protect us. Not to keep us in fear. And as a Black man in my community, I’m in fear.”

Responding to the incident in a statement, the Compton Sheriff’s Station said they are “thoroughly reviewing the incident and more information is forthcoming.”  

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 26, 2023


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