Militarization of Police

Another Isolated Incident: Unarmed College Student Shot in the Chest During Drug Raid

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Police shot an unarmed Grand Valley State student in the chest during a drug raid on his apartment last night.

The police haven't said what they were looking for, other than that the raid was part of a drug investigation. They also haven't said if they found any illicit drugs, or what caused the officer to discharge his weapon.

The 20-year-old man is in stable condition at a Grand Rapids, Michigan hospital.

A police spokesman told the Grand Rapid News that the shooting was an "isolated incident."

Thanks to Nick Cheolas for the tip.

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  1. The 20-year-old man is in stable condition at a Grand Rapids, Michigan hospital.

    Thank goodness

  2. The phrase “isolated incident” has to be getting close to being self-parody at this point, right?

  3. From the article:

    The shooting caused police to lock down the building, but residents were not evacuated and were never in danger, state police Capt. Gary Gorski said

    Yeah, the residents were never in any danger.. except for from the police.. and by residents we mean anyone but the student we shot.

  4. A police spokesman told the Grand Rapid News that the shooting was an “isolated incident.”

    That’s because his apartment is in the woods. It’s very isolated out there.

  5. The police haven’t said what they were looking for, other than that the raid was part of a drug investigation. They also haven’t said if they found any illicit drugs, or what caused the officer to discharge his weapon.

    In other words, the bullshit machine at police headquarters is being primed to go at full blast, because they fucked up.

  6. When they say “isolated incident” what is that supposed to mean, exactly? That this incident does not connect to anything else? That some police just happened to burst into his room and shoot him?

    Just call it for what it is: collateral damage in the drug war. Or maybe this guy is a big, scary dealer who reached for his wallet at a bad time – so this is the drug war working as intended. Hold a press conference and honestly say “we shot a man because of the drug war.”

  7. So scary!

  8. They slur their speech due to being partially deafened from shooting all of these unarmed citizens and pets. The phrase they’re trying to use is “immolated dissident.”

  9. My sister’s a GVSU student and she has lots of friends in that apartment complex. She’s been in class all day, so she hasn’t let me know if she knows the victim. Earlier, they weren’t confirming that it was an officer who shot him but suggesting that maybe he had shot himself in desperation and/or incompetence.

    Grand Rapids is a very “red” area of Michigan, full of law-and-order Dutch Reform Christians. While more liberal than the many nearby religious colleges, GVSU is still very reflective of the local culture.

    Case in point: I attended parent orientation for Sis. The campus police officer came right out and told all the anxious parents that there was absolutely no drug problem on campus. The students who were buying/using drugs all had those problems before they came to GV, she said, and they were usually buying the drugs at home on the weekends.

    Mom and I laughed our asses off privately afterward. It doesn’t seem so funny now.

  10. “Isolated incident” means that this particular policemen has never before been involved in a shooting connected with this particular student. Any semblance of a pattern is purely coincidental.

    It’s for the Children!

  11. He’s lucky he didn’t have a dog.

  12. Oh, those cops. The rest of us should all pack pieces, but not the cops.

  13. “(This is) an isolated incident,” Gorski said. “(It) started out as a drug investigation, a search warrant was conducted, which resulted in a shot being fired.”

    In the lawyering world, using the passive voice is an explicit attempt to downplay something you don’t want highlighted.

    It wasn’t a “shot being fired”, you numbfuck piece of shit…a police officer SHOT A GUY. that’s what happened. Be a man and own the hell up. shots don’t fire themselves, assclown.

  14. I live 5 to 10 minutes away from Grand Valley. I actually took some classes there in High School.

    FYI, the paper you’re citing is more likely the Grand Rapids Press not the Grand Rapids News which is a paper I’ve never heard of.

    I’ll have to ask my friends that go there if they heard anything about this.

    And yeah, Ottawa County is the reddest county you’ll find in Michigan. Loads of conservative, Dutch, Christian Reform people.

  15. Oh geebus. I can’t believe the police actually quoted the phrase “isolated indecent” to the press.

    I use to live in Grand Rapids. I liked it very much. Grand Valley is a nice little university with big aspirations.

    If something like this was going to happen in a GR, I Would have guessed Calvin College. You just know students of christian schools are up to no good.

    Butterworth is probably the best place to take a gunshot to the chest. I hope he makes a full recovery.

    Stay on it Radley.

  16. A comic strip from the old school days shows a student a father in a car:

    Father: I hear there’s a big drug problem on campus

    Student: I can get whatever I want whenever I want it — no problem

    Thought bubble to both father and son: This is going to be a long weekend

  17. Lefiti,
    To defend ourselves from the cops?

  18. Radley,
    The linked article doesn’t state that the student was unarmed. It doesn’t say he was either. Is unarmed an sssumption? If so it probably is correct, but still …

  19. It’s those wily Van Andels…those crazy Dutch bastards.

  20. BTW, GVSU has an awesome Division II football team. They’re perrenial contenders for the championship.

  21. FYI, the paper you’re citing is more likely the Grand Rapids Press not the Grand Rapids News which is a paper I’ve never heard of.

    Good catch (how’d I miss it?). Radley is quoting from the “Grand Rapids News” page of Mlive.com which is an anthology of West Michigan newspapers. And yes, this story is from The Grand Rapids Press.

  22. I wonder if I get caught shooting someone else or doing drugs on the street or something if I would get away with it without punishment by telling the officer that it was an isolated incident.

    “There’s no problem here, officer, it was an isolated incident”

  23. Jesus, loupeznik, don’t feed the troll now. It was all shrunken up and withered and just about ready to fall off.

  24. Never mind. This article says he was unarmed.

  25. Radley is quoting from the “Grand Rapids News” page of Mlive.com which is an anthology of West Michigan newspapers.

    Specifically, MLive covers all of Advance Publications’ properties throughout Michigan; the company has several other, similar sites for its other clusters.

  26. TAO,

    Thanks.

  27. Michigan State Police officials told the Grand Rapids Press on Thursday the gunshot came from an Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy who was placed on paid leave during the investigation.

    Out of vacation time? Why just shoot an unarmed “civilian.” Problem solved.

  28. Marc,
    Thanks for the warning, but it’s not any fun when we all agree.

  29. An Ottawa County sheriff’s deputy fired the shot that injured a Grand Valley State University student Wednesday night at his off-campus apartment, a top investigator confirmed this morning.

    The deputy was among at least five officers executing a search warrant for drugs when he fired the shot through an open sliding door at the rear of the apartment, said Capt. Gary Gorski, district commander for the Michigan State Police.

    GVSU is not in Ottawa county.

  30. GVSU is not in Ottawa county.

    It could be one of those multi-jurisdictional task force thingees. Less accountability that way.

  31. GVSU is not in Ottawa county.

    Yes, the main campus in Allendale is, and the campus kops are deputized sheriffs. The downtown campus is in Kent, obviously.

    Trying to get there when there was so much construction on the expressway last year, I learned this the hard way when my map featured just Kent Co.

  32. It could be one of those multi-jurisdictional task force thingees. Less accountability that way.

    Apparently, this is the “multijurisdictional drug enforcement task force” in question.

  33. A police spokesman told the Grand Rapid News that the shooting was an “isolated incident.”

    Depends on that person’s definition of “isolated,” doesn’t it? Rare, uncommon or unusual for that area? Was it? Or does Radley (as usual) indict all police enforcement activities by the actions of a relative few?*

    *Relax, knee-jerkers. It’s a rhetorical question. Objective observers know the answer.

  34. Lola,

    You are correct.
    I think of it as a GR school but the main campus is out of town and across the county line. My bad.

  35. Does Lonewacko (sockpuppet) judge all Mexicans by the actions of a relative few?

    That, too, was a rhetorical question. Any almost every observer here knows the answer.

  36. The phrase “isolated incident” has to be getting close to being self-parody at this point, right?

    True, they’ve kind of become the “‘Isolated incident dujour”.

    Glad he is in at least stable condition.

  37. Depends on that person’s definition of “isolated,” doesn’t it? Rare, uncommon or unusual for that area? Was it? Or does Radley (as usual) indict all police enforcement activities by the actions of a relative few?*

    *Relax, knee-jerkers. It’s a rhetorical question. Objective observers know the answer.

    Sure, let’s be fair. In 99.9 percent of the cases, the drug war goes as planned, and people dealing in plants and intoxicants get their lives ruined after trial, rather than ended by the police themselves. All over the country police carry out no knock raids on private residences to keep people from getting high, and old women, dogs, and children are only shot occasionally. An acceptable price to pay for the drug free society we all currently enjoy.


  38. You are correct.
    I think of it as a GR school but the main campus is out of town and across the county line. My bad.

    Don’t beat yourself up about it– I’ve got a lot of family there, and I only just figured out this distinction. (My grandparents left Grand Rapids proper and came east in 1956, mostly to deflect shame when Grandpa married and knocked up a 17-year-old in the wrong order.) Their relatives are spread all around that side of the state, but the whole region is “Grand Rapids” to me 99% of the time.

  39. An acceptable price to pay for the drug free society we all currently enjoy.

    Not really acceptable, but perhaps worth it because the children at this school deserve to learn free from fear in a drug free environment.

    “A drug free world, we can do it!”

  40. Police press conference on YouTube

    The initial investigation indicates that there was “no confrontation” when the cops entered.

  41. I think every state should make an anarchy zone and send all drug users and liberals there. Let them see the ideal society they want in action.

  42. I think every state should make an anarchy zone and send all drug users and liberals there. Let them see the ideal society they want in action.

    *Removes Brett Stevens from invite list to Rainbow Puppy Island warming party*

  43. You’re being redundant Brett. Drug users and liberals are the same group. And they won’t be happy until the whole state is an anarchy zone and all God-fearing patriots like you are dead.

  44. *Removes Brett Stevens from invite list to Rainbow Puppy Island warming party*

    But, will you still be inviting the similarly named WSJ columnist? 😉

  45. Drug users and liberals are the same group

    Facts about FrBunny:
    Voted for Bush twice, McConnell twice
    NRA Life Member since 1988
    Ran for local office as a Republican in 2008, got about 30% of general election votes
    Gets high whenever opportunity presents itself

    Your blanket statment is itchy.

  46. Voted for Bush twice

    I voted for Bush once, but that was in 1988. Surely the two you are referring to are 1988 and 1992, right?

    Not sure on McConnell, probably twice. 7 and 19 years ago, I think.

  47. robc,

    Unfortunately I was one of the 40,000,000 culprits in both 2000 and 2004. I had my libertarian awakening mid-2008.

    Name my penance and it will be done.

  48. See, this is why I keep lots of dogs. With luck, when I’m raided I’ll be able to slip away unnoticed during the massacre. When the cops shoot people, they’re just acting out their frustration that there are no dogs to shoot.

    BTW, has “isolated incident” become a speechspeak word meaning something entirely different, like “gay,” so that when cop spokesvermin use the phrase they really mean “happens all the damn time”?

  49. I’m all for Balko exposing the damage caused by the Drug War, but the phrase “another isolated incident” sounds like typical internet snark and usually dampens my interest in reading these pieces.

  50. Shooting hippies is worse now that Obama is president.

    Wait… is that a good thing? shit

  51. L. Ron Hoover | March 12, 2009, 7:06pm | #

    I’m all for Balko exposing the damage caused by the Drug War, but the phrase “another isolated incident” sounds like typical internet snark and usually dampens my interest in reading these pieces.

    L. Ron, thats the headline he’s used for these “cop shoots unarmed citizen with no record” for years now.

  52. I know, person. I just think he should say “Another Drug War Caualty” instead, or something like that. I’ve read a lot of neocon blogs, so “another isolated incident” reminds me of “Religion of Peace strikes again” followed by an article about a Muslim attack. It’s a hackneyed formula.

  53. From a different article…
    http://www.wzzm13.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=106687&catid=2

    Henke says as officers were entering through a sliding glass door in the rear of the apartment, one of the five officers shot his gun and hit a 20-year old GVSU student Derek Copp in the chest. Investigators are still trying to determine why.
    “Our indication is 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,” said Henke

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, if even the police aren’t using the self-defense bit at this point.

  54. Radley Balko, making it easier to generate page views with his sensational and disproportionate obsession. Suckers.

    Wait, where’s the argument that any cop who transgresses is one cop who transgresses too many?

    Still looking for that utopian memo on my fax machine. Still looking for that objective look at the overall (Radley, that means the BIG PICTURE) examination of isolated incidents vs. the necessary and relatively successful tension between law enforcement and law-enforcement abuse.

    Your tedious and demonstrable reliance on the sucker punch proves that you don’t have it in you to engage in discourse at a higher level.

  55. Andrew Lynch,

    Congratulations, you missed the entire point.

  56. Missed makes it sound accidental. I’d say dodged, since clearly he was trying to miss the point.

  57. Looks like I have a few more names to add to my Greasemonkey filter…

  58. “An acceptable price to pay for the drug free society we all currently enjoy.”

    LOL, what drug free society? I live within a 1000 feet radius of no less than 7 legal marihuana distribution points.

    Wanna bet there’s less drug related trouble here than over there?

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