Florida Police Department Uses Black Men’s Mugshots for Target Practice
A Florida police department is under fire after a National Guardswoman discovered their officers using mugshots of black men for target practice.
Sgt. Valerie Deant of the Florida Army National Guard was at a shooting range when she discovered her brother’s mugshot – one of several on a sheet of paper being used for target practice by officers from the North Miami Beach police department.
Her brother, Woody Deant, who was arrested all the way back in 2000 when he was 15 years old after a drag racing accident, told WTVJ, “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 admitted that officers should have better judgment than to use these targets but denied any racist intent, noting that his department’s sniper team “includes minority officers.”
He also claimed that using this technique is a “widely used part of facial recognition drills.”
Alex Vasquez, a retired FBI agent, says it’s curious the department only used photos of black suspects.
“The use of those targets doesn’t seem correct,” Vasquez told WTVJ. “The police have different options for targets. I think the police have to be extra careful and sensitive to some issues that might be raised.”
Dennis says his officers will continue to use this technique at the shooting range, but only after they “expand their inventory of images.”