Barry Cooper (lecturer)

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Photo of Barry Cooper, lecturer, human rights activist, and criminal defense expert witness.

Barry Cooper (born May 21, 1969) is an anti-drug-war lecturer, film maker, criminal defense expert witness and law lecturer known for his DVD series, "NeverGetBusted" and his Internet reality show, KopBusters. Cooper formerly served as one of the United States' top drug enforcement officers.[1] Barry has received global attention by being reported in over 700 newspapers and magazines including Rolling Stones, High Times, a feature in Maxim Magazine and a front cover feature in Cannabis Culture Magazine and the Texas Observer. He has been a guest on numerous radio shows and every cable news channel including MSNBC Tucker Carlson, FOX Geraldo At Large, ABC I Caught, NBC Mike and Juliet Morning Show and NPR’s, This American Life. He has also appeared as drug and legal expert in five episodes of SPIKE TV’s reality show, MANSWERS. Barry recently starred with Woody Harrelson, 50 Cent, Eminem and Susan Sarandon in the anti drug war documentary, “How To Make Money Selling Drugs.” The movie features Barry freeing prisoners.

Early life[edit]

Cooper was raised in California until age ten when his family moved to Texas. He then began training dogs in obedience, hunting, and working with livestock. Cooper was also the pastor of a church for a number of years.

Law enforcement years[edit]

Cooper began his law enforcement career with the Gladewater Police Department as a police dispatcher. He was later hired by the Big Sandy Police Department as an interdiction officer in East Texas and trained his own narcotic detection dog. According to his former West Texas Drug Taskforce boss, Barry Cooper was “probably the best narcotics officer in the state and maybe the country.” [2]

As a law enforcement officer, Cooper confiscated large amounts of illegal narcotics and drug money. Cooper began to notice that people arrested for possession of marijuana were nonviolent and cooperative, in contrast to people intoxicated on alcohol who “[…] would fight and scream and act crazy.” He also noted being deeply affected by the emotional trauma he witnessed while participating in home narcotics raids with other officers attired in raid gear and “more guns than we would ever need.” Cooper also stated, “We’re sending the kids to the department of human services, we’re sending the parents to jail over marijuana. Well, I knew some of these people and I knew they weren’t gangsters. I knew they were nonviolent people.” He quit law enforcement soon after.[3]


Cooper struck on the idea using an internet-distributed reality TV format program called "KopBusters" that would muckrake abuses of drug enforcement organizations. In a typical KopBusters sting operation, Cooper and his associates would place fake drug evidence and cash and call the police to report the "suspicious" materials. Then they would videorecord the police activity to see if the officers took the cash and destroyed the other evidence, the latter being a felony offense, according to his lawyer.[4] Cooper also lured Odessa, Texas police into raiding a fake marijuana hothouse and published the video of the event publicly via KopBusters. These activities quickly drew the ire of Williamson County police, who raided his house on March 3, 2010, and charged him with two counts of misdemeanor making a false report to a peace officer. Other consequences included several arrests, Child Protective Services investigations of Cooper's custody of his son, and a visit by the Texas Rangers to arrest Cooper's wife over the Odessa charge, which was later dropped.[5] It's widely reported the raid and arrests were retaliation for Cooper's activism. Due to concerns about further harassment and threats, Cooper fled the U.S. with his family to South America in 2013.[6] Cooper remains active in the anti-drug-war movement via his website, which provides advice, video materials, and expert witness services to recreational drug users.

Political career[edit]

Cooper ran as a Libertarian in the 2010 Texas Attorney General Race on a "pro-pot, pro-gun, pro-family platform."[7]

He had previously filed as a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress District 31 in Texas.[8]

In 2010, he attempted to run for Texas Attorney General, but was forced to drop out of the race due to multiple arrests. The charges, which Cooper believes were instigated due to his activism and political motivation, were all either dropped, thrown out by the prosecutor, or settled by a plea bargain. In an interview, Cooper has stated that he believes the charges were brought against him in order to keep him out of Texas politics.[9]

Lecturer, expert witness and case consultant[edit]

Cooper has lectured before the Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Association, Florida Public Defenders Association, and universities in Texas and Florida. He serves as expert legal witness or case consultant in police corruption cases specifically concerning K-9 false alerts.[10]


Further reading[edit]

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