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Jury finds Brunswick Co. man not guilty of assault on deputies

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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) -- Back in 2007 Brunswick County Sheriff's deputies shot a man, who was also charged with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer. George Cooper says he never pointed a gun at the officers much less fired it, and today a jury at the Brunswick County Courthouse agreed with him.

"Somebody banged on the side of the house," Cooper said of the night he was shot. "I thought it was some more relatives coming over to eat. I grabbed the gun to put the gun up and opened the door. A second or two after I opened the door they went to shooting. They never announced themselves, never said nothing."

Cooper suffered multiple gunshot wounds from the incident at his Maco Road home. Deputies Brian Carlisle and James Sheehan were cleared after a SBI investigation, but Cooper was charged with two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer because the deputies said he not only pointed his weapon at them but also fired it.

"In my opinion this case probably never should have been brought to trial, but given the fact that it was, I'm very very pleased that 12 jurors heard the case and came to the right result that Mr. Cooper's not guilty of what they claimed he did," Cooper's attorney Robert Tatum said.

The first count of assault was dismissed Monday due to lack of evidence.

Brunswick County Sheriff Jon Ingram did not want to comment about the case at this time.

Cooper says the case should not have made it this far, but he is glad it's over.

"It was really a slam dunk case to start with," Cooper said. "It was unjust for the prosecutors to bring this case to trial anyway."

Tatum says the next step is the civil suit that is pending in federal court. In his civil suit Cooper claims officers violated his civil rights by using excessive force. Tatum says he does not expect a trial date on the suit until early next year.

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