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‘Please Don’t Shoot Me’: Compton Man Says He Woke Up to Guns Pointed at Him Before Being Marched Outside with No Underwear By Cops for Allegedly Burglarizing His Own Home

A Compton youth advocate and program director was wrongfully detained last week by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies who claimed he was a suspect in a burglary.

The man was brought out of his home, which also serves as a youth academy, wearing no underwear and only a T-shirt and not allowed to dress before being marched outside and put in the back of a police car.

Compton Man Says He Woke Up to Guns Pointed at Him Before Being Marched Outside In Just His Underwear By Cops for Allegedly Burglarizing His Own Home
Derrick Cooper says L.A. County deputies entered his home in a botched raid. (Photo: KTLA/YouTube screenshot)

The youth leader says his dignity was taken when he was unexpectedly accused of breaking into and robbing his own home.

Related: ‘Spit In the Face of Americans’: Kentucky Police Agency Faces Backlash, Protests Over Hiring Officer Who Killed Breonna Taylor In Botched 2020 Raid

The sheriff’s department now has asked its Compton station to launch an investigation into the incident.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the deputies were responding to an alarm call.

According to Derrick Cooper’s account, he doesn’t have an alarm and never made a call to report a burglary. When the incident happened, he was asleep in his bedroom when the deputies allegedly reached their hands through his mail slot and unlocked his door.

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

The founder of the Compton-based LA City Wildcats Young Academy said he woke up around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, to a “flashlight” and “guns” in his face but did not resist arrest — and obeyed every order the authorities asked him to follow, despite not knowing why he was being taken in.

Nervous about being detained, he asked the deputies, “Please don’t shoot me.”

Cooper told ABC 7 News he asked if he would be able to place his pants on but said, “They told me no,” marching him to their car in a T-shirt and handcuffs.

“Right then I became helpless because my dignity was stolen from me,” he explained.

He also thought he might be killed.

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

The officers placed him in the back of a squad car but released him after several minutes.

Cooper has enlisted the support of a lawyer to help him sue the agency.

“Definitely the intentional infliction of emotional distress. There’s the battery, the assault, there’s the unlawful entry and violation of his 4th amendment rights,” said attorney Jaaye Person-Lynn, who plans to file the claim in the next week.

This is not the first time Cooper was wrongfully detained. He says in 2019 the Sheriff’s Department brought him in and he was innocent then also.

“I expect so much more from our law enforcement,” said Cooper. “We need them. We want them to do what we need them to do, and that’s to protect us. Not to keep us in fear. And as a Black man in my community, I’m in fear.”

Cooper founded L.A. County Wildcats Academy over 27 years ago and has committed himself and his resources to provide after-school programs, tutoring, mentoring, basketball, cheer, dance, drum squad, soccer, and transportation to youth from ages 6 and up in the Compton section of Los Angeles County.

Despite his work to provide a safe space for young people, Cooper fights against gang violence. At the end of last year, rival street gangs fought openly and shot wildly near the facility where his kids were learning.

“On December 9, 2022, was the day I dropped to my knees when my After School Program Kids were caught in the middle of two gangs shooting it out in front of our After-School facility,” he wrote in a GoFundMe petition. “Our kids were in shock as gunfire erupted right before their eyes. As a result of this dangerous incident, I’m forced to close my After School Program doors.”

Cooper was trying to relocate the nonprofit from the front of his home (he lives in an apartment in the back of the building) to a safer place. He not only fears for the kids but now has a fear of those expected to protect and serve.

“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,’” he said. “It’s unacceptable, man. I am a human being.”

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