North Miami Beach Police sparked outrage after it was revealed they used mug shots of former felons as target practice, infuriating the South Florida family of one of the men whose picture was shot up.
Last Saturday, Florida Army National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant and other guardsmen arrived at a shooting range in Medley for weapons qualifications training.
To her dismay, Deant found the people who had previously used the range, North Miami Beach Police Department snipers, had been firing at old mug shots, six of which featured black men.
Deant’s concern grew when she discovered one of the men whose picture was riddled with bullet holes was her brother, Woody, who spent 4 years in prison after a conviction 15 years ago.
“I was like, ‘Why is my brother being used for target practice?'” Deant told NBC Miami. “There were like gunshots there… And I cried a couple of times.”
Deant then phoned her brother who was equally perplexed.
“The picture actually has like bullet holes,” Woody said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye… I was speechless.”
“Now I’m being used as a target?” he continued. “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 Firearms Training Center told local news investigators it does not control what type of targets law enforcement entities choose.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis acknowledged it might have been insensitive to use the mug shots, but said he wouldn’t punish the officers involved as many of the members of the sniper team are minorities.
“Our policies were not violated,” Dennis stated.
A former FBI agent consulted for the report said the cops had other options available to them and could have exercised better discretion.
“The use of those targets doesn’t seem correct,” retired FBI agent Alex Vasquez said. “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.”
NBC Miami says they spoke with several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and that all of them use commercial targets at firing ranges, not pictures of actual people.
However, as Infowars has exposed, at least one federal agency has actually sought to procure targets featuring real people.
In February 2013, we reported on a company that was producing “realistic” “No More Hesitation” targets featuring images of pregnant women, elderly people and children, all of whom were pictured holding guns, ostensibly “designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.”
After it emerged that DHS had contracted with the company to the tune of $2 million, Law Enforcement Training Inc. discontinued the cut-outs and removed them from their website, apologizing “for the offensive nature” of their products.
The Deants have since lawyered up. Family attorney Andell Brown says this type of police training will “create a very dangerous situation,” especially in light of the highly publicized, but largely misguided perception that police are at war with minorities.
“…[I]t has been ingrained in your subconscious. What does that mean when someone [police] comes across Woody or another person on the street and their decision-making process on using deadly force or not?”
Mr. Brown did not immediately return a request for comment, as of this writing.
Rather than apologize, Police Chief Dennis said his department would stop using human targets until they amass enough targets to depict a more racially diverse blend of criminals. The chief did say, however, they would stop using mug shots and would instruct police to remove targets after using them.
The snipers’ actions will certainly do little to quell fears that law enforcement entities are indeed training to take on the American people, stockpiling billions of rounds of ammunition, surplus military vehicles, rifles, riot gear and more in anticipation of some unknown cataclysmic event that could spark widespread civil unrest.