A man who has lived and worked in Compton for decades, a stalwart member of the community, found himself unexpectedly detained Tuesday by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“I did not call for the sheriff or the police to come here. There was no need for them to come here,” Derrick Cooper, founder of the L.A. City Wildcats Youth Academy, told KTLA. “I felt so humiliated and violated. I’ve never felt that way in my life.”
It was around 4 a.m. when the community leader, who has dedicated his life to working with children, said he was handcuffed and hauled out of his home by sheriff’s deputies.
“I wake up to guns and flashlights in my face,” Cooper said.
He said he was disoriented by the lights and commotion as deputies ordered him to show his hands, get out of bed and walk slowly toward them.
“I told them please don’t shoot me,” he said.
Wearing only a shirt, Cooper asked if he could put on more clothes, but was told no and to continue moving toward them.
“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.”
Without his pants or underwear, deputies escorted Cooper outside to a patrol car.
“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?” he 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.”
The Compton Sheriff’s Station said in a statement that they are “thoroughly reviewing the incident and more information is forthcoming.”
Cooper said he and his attorney will be holding a press conference Friday at 1 p.m. at 200 Corporate Pointe, suite 495, in Culver City.