Oklahoma medical examiner rules in-custody death a homicide

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WALTERS, Okla. – The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled that the March death of a man who died in police custody was a homicide.

A medical examiner’s report says 55-year-old Michael Cooper’s probable cause of death is blunt force trauma of the head. The report also says Cooper had blunt facial trauma, fractured ribs and had a chronic liver disease due to alcoholism.

Cotton County law enforcement officers were serving a search warrant March 10 at a home in Walters, near the Texas border, when they took Cooper into custody. Officials said police were looking for a stolen gun.

Cooper’s family said the door to his house was busted down and he was thrown to the floor, striking his head.

He was taken to a hospital where he later died.

News 4 contacted the Walters Police Department in March when the incident happened and said they could not comment on the investigation. They referred us to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

OSBI has opened an excessive force case in the death. Officials have not released any other details.

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