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Apr. 11 2010 - 11:10 pm | 1,917 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Texas Observer scratches the surface of ‘KopBusters’

Before the arrest, before the child custody battle, before Williamson County and before the hackneyed, half-planned bid for Texas attorney general, former drug cop Barry Cooper had Yoland Madden and the Odessa Police Department.

I’d heard about Cooper before his run-in with Madden and the police in Odessa. Like many, I saw him on television, in news segments about his first big media splash, the “Never Get Busted Again” DVDs that launched his flamboyant career. But his dealings in west Texas are what really put this guy on the map, and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Drawn to Odessa due to the presence of former law enforcement colleagues and the pleadings one Raymond Madden — whose daughter had been jailed for possession of meth — Cooper plotted something so crazy, no cop would have seen it coming: he constructed a fake grow operation, complete with hot lights and baby Christmas trees, hoping to bait officers into raiding it while cameras rolled.

An anonymous letter got police juiced to kick in the door and a local judge was all too happy to approve the search, even without any actual evidence of wrongdoing. Though Cooper has repeatedly refused to tell me specifically who sent that letter, he’s essentially admitted it was either him or one of his associates.

Months later, Yolanda was freed after a judge ruled that the prosecution had withheld key evidence. The same judge that vacated Yolanda’s unjust sentence also specified that the prosecution did nothing wrong.

Though the raid and the judge’s ruling were unrelated in the eyes of the law, Cooper claims his strategy of embarrassing the police worked — and that it had a ripple effect nation-wide.

Back when the media was in a minor frenzy about his stunt in Odessa, I asked Barry whether he thought the anonymous letter could get him in trouble. Though being careful to not absolutely confirm he’d sent it, after a bit of prodding he somberly admitted, “I know the arrest is coming, at some point.”

He likely didn’t realize it would go this far, or that it would take so long.

The Texas Observer, a wonderful, necessary publication which simply cannot have enough people promoting it, pieced together a little presentation about the Yolanda Madden saga that I found to be concise and rather informative. Check it out below.

The Observer also published a collection of Cooper’s videos, available here. Not sure why exactly they did this, but perhaps they’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the “drug war insurgent” lately. Or not.

Update: Just got an email from Cooper, who claims the Observer is planning an April 30 “cover story” (his words) on all the recent drama. Should be something to keep an eye out for. Here’s their video …


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  1. collapse expand

    Barry and Candi are the best!…we need a few thousand more like them…

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    My name is Stephen. I am a News Junkie and an assistant editor at RawStory.com. My work has appeared in publications both printed and online, including The Dallas Business Journal, the cover of Fort Worth Weekly and in the pages of The Dallas Morning News, Austin Monthly, Envy Magazine and others. I also covered the rebirth of the U.S. peace movement first-hand for The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, starting with the city's first public screening of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' all the way through the end of Cindy Sheehan's stay. I've seen my reporting discussed in publications such as Time, Wired, Reason, The Washington Post, D Magazine, The Guardian UK, Media Matters, ThinkProgress, Alternet, Cannabis Culture, 1-UP, Destructoid, Kotaku, GameSpot, G4TV and many others. I am currently open for freelance assignments and actively seeking a literary agent. You can follow me on Twitter @StephenCWebster, or from Facebook.com/StephenCWebster.

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