Florida police shot images of black men in training

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A handgun is seen on a counter at a firing range in the US on 26 November 2014Image source, Samand/AFP/Getty
Image caption,
North Miami Beach Police shot at suspect photographs in their training session

US police officers have been criticised for using mug shots of black suspects for target practice in Florida.

The images used by North Miami Beach Police were discovered by a female soldier who used the firing range after a police training session.

Sgt Valerie Deant recognised her brother as one of the target images, according to NBC Miami.

Police Chief J Scott Dennis said that his officers had used poor judgment but denied racial profiling.

He told NBC that using real suspect images was an important part of training for his sniper team and that his officers had not violated any policies.

"There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this," he said.

A police spokeswoman added on Friday that officers use targets of all races and genders in their training sessions.


The six targets left behind by police were found last month by Sgt Deant, a band member of the Florida Army National Guard.

"I was like, why is my brother being used for target practice?" she told NBC Miami on Friday.

The photo of her brother Woody Deant had been taken after his arrest as a teenager for drag racing. It had been shot several times.

Mr Deant said he was "speechless" when he heard the news.

"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 nine to five."

Police Chief Dennis said they were "very, very concerned" that one of the targets had been of a man who would be on the streets of North Miami Beach.

He said that the department would no longer use images of suspects they had arrested.