Citizens of South Florida are outraged at North Miami Beach Police after discovery mugshots of black men being used for target practice.
A team of Army soldiers discovered the mugshots when they arrived at the Medley Firearms Training Center, including one of the men pictured’s sister, Sgt. Valerie Deant. Her and her team were at the shooting range for their annual weapons qualifications training.
However instead of the ordinary used target sheets they thought they would stumble on, they instead found the pictures of black men with bullet holes sprinkled all over the sheets. They concluded the pictures were used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, as the officers used the range before the soldiers.
Deant’s brother Woody Deant’s 15-year-old mugshot was among the pictures being used. He was arrested in 2000 and served four years in prison in connection to a drag race that left two people dead.
“There were like gunshots there—And I cried a couple of times,” Valerie said. Her brother, Woody equally upset, added,
“The picture actually has like bullet holes—One in my forehead and one in my eye. …I was speechless—Now I’m being used as a target? 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.”
The Medley range denied any involvement in the specific targets as the shooting range staff doesn’t select the targets used by law enforcement and the military. The North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, however doesn’t equate this to racial profiling because he has minorities on the force.
Dennis defended his department using the actual photos to help with their facial recognition drills and the technique is widely used. “Our policies were not violated—There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.”
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