Outrage as Miami cops use photos of black teens for target practice
Members of the North Miami Beach Police have been caught using photos of actual black teenagers for target practice.
This was discovered during an incident last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant, a clarinet player in the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, showed up at the Medley Firearms Training Center after members of the department had been practicing, and recognized one of their targets - a mugshot of her brother from when he was just 18-years-old.
The other targets were also black men, and some just teenagers. But now the department is defending the practice.
Her brother Woody, who was arrested for drag racing in 2000 and is now married with children, was just as shocked and angry, noting; ‘The picture actually has like bullet holes. One in my forehead and one in my eye. …I was speechless.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis says there is nothing wrong with this practice at all however, and even defends its use.
'Our policies were not violated,’ Dennis said.
'There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.’
Dennis said it is common practice to use actual mugshots, and members of the same ethnic group help with facial recognition exercises.
NBC 6 Investigators spoke with both federal and state law enforcement agencies, as well as five local police departments, and they all said they use commercially produced targets for shooting practice, and never mugshots of actual people.
Dennis does say however that he regrets the usage of a mugshot of an actual Miami resident.
Woody Deant seems to feel the same.
'Now I’m being used as a target?’ he said.
'I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.’
He then added that this make the streets feel anything but safe for him in his community.
'Automatically in his [cop’s] mind he’s going to think target, target, target.’