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Lawsuit Filed in GVSU Student Shooting


GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WHTC News) - Now that the criminal matter has been settled, let the civil litigation begin.

A lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids yesterday by the attorney for Derek Copp, the Grand Valley State University student shot in a drug raid at his off-campus apartment in Allendale Township two years ago this Friday. In the complaint, the now 22-year-old Spring Arbor man contended that Ottawa County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Huizenga was grossly negligent and committed assault and battery when he and other members of the West Michigan Enforcement Team, storming the unit in a warrant against Copp’s roommate, fired his weapon, striking the unarmed Copp in the chest as he was raising his arm to shield his eyes from the officers’ flashlights. The roommate wasn’t home at the time, while Copp suffered several injuries from the wounds.

Huizenga was convicted of criminal charges, served six months probation, fined, ordered to community service, and was taken off of WEMET and into road patrol duties. Copp and his roommate eventually were convicted of various charges stemming from the warrants.

In standard litigation procedure that names as many defendants as possible, Copp is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Huizenga, Sheriff Gary Rozema, the Sheriff’s Department and the County for medical expenses and related distress stemming from the shooting, along with court-ordered changes in how deputies use guns in the execution of their duties. 

Now graduated from GVSU, Copp is a monastery student in Tennessee. County officials are not commenting on the lawsuit.