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BLH Obtains Historic 9.25-Million-Dollar Verdict in the Beating Death of Mr. Terry Cooper, Jr.

On November 15, 2023, a jury in the Northern District of New York returned a 9.25-million-dollar compensatory damage verdict against the three defendants in the prison beating case of Mr. Terry Cooper, Jr. This is the largest civil rights verdict in the Northern District’s history.  The jury determined that Mr. Cooper was beaten about the head and back, this beating lead to a fatal asthma attack which caused his death about 3 to 5 minutes later.  Mr. Cooper was killed in 2016 at Clinton Correctional Facility. 


Terry was 25 years old when three officers claimed he attacked them and that they used minimal force to subdue him. The autopsy reported no significant injuries and a natural cause of death from asthma. We obtained autopsy photographs and our expert, Dr. Zhongxue determined that there was evidence of significant injuries, including baton wounds on Terry’s back and injuries to both sides and the back of Terry’s head. The officers defended the case from start until finish by denying that they had used any force that could explain the injuries.  


BLH could not be any happier for the Cooper family. They are one of the loveliest collection of humans we have had the pleasure of working with. Getting them some acknowledgement that what happened to their son was a homicide is about the sweetest thing possible. For the last seven years the State has been saying their son / brother / father had it coming. Having a jury say that what happened was wrong was so gratifying. This case was co-counseled with Josh Moskovitz and Adam Strychaluk of Hamilton | Clarke. 


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