Miami police officers were caught shooting at mugshots of convicted criminals. North Miami Beach police snipers had been using the range before Sgt Valerie Deant arrived.
She immediately recognized a mugshot of her convicted criminal brother Woody, photographed 15 years ago after he was arrested in relation to illegal drag racing.
One bullet hole was in his forehead; the other was in his eye.
“I was like why is my brother being used for target practice?” Deant said . “They were all black males. There were like, gunshots there. I cried a couple of times.”
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis trotted out the “actually, we have a lot of black friends” defence by stating that the sniper team includes officers from minority groups. He claims that using photographs of real people is important for facial recognition drills.
“Our policies were not violated,” Dennis said. “There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.”
The brother had spent four years in prison after that drag race. “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 nine to five.”
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis said that the department has a variety of pictures for target practice, including whites and Hispanics, and said that the scene Deant witnessed was not evidence of racial profiling.
Dennis also defended the use of mugshots as important for facial recognition. However, the chief did say that the department should not use images of people arrested by his department.
For the time being, Dennis said that the department would stop using human images until it expanded the number available, would not use those of people the officers had arrested, and would remove targets after using a shooting range.
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