The North Miami Beach police department was caught last month using pictures of African Americans for sniper practice at a firing range.
Soldiers with a Florida Army National Guard unit discovered the targets left behind by North Miami Beach police snipers when they arrived at a commercial firing range for weapons qualification. The target was a photo array of six African Americans, and Sgt. Valerie Deant recognized one of the photos riddled with bullet holes as her brother’s mugshot, taken when he was arrested fifteen years ago at age eighteen.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis defended the department’s use of actual photographs and denied racial profiling, noting the sniper team includes minority officers. “Our policies were not violated,” he told NBC News Channel 6 in Miami. “There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.” He said the targets include photos of whites and Hispanic males, and his department will continue to use these targets, but officers will not use booking photos from suspects they have arrested themselves.
Sgt. Deant’s brother Woody Deant expressed outrage. “Now I’m being used as a target?” he told NBC, noting he’s not the same person he was at eighteen. “I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.”