Tags: miami | florida | police | target practice | blacks | mug shots

Miami-area Police Used Black Men's Mug Shots for Target Practice

By    |   Friday, 16 Jan 2015 07:41 AM

The North Miami Beach Police Department is denying accusations of racial profiling for using mug shots of black men during target practice for their snipers, NBC South Florida reports.

"Our policies were not violated," Chief J. Scott Dennis said. "There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this."

When a National Guard unit arrived at a Medley, Florida, shooting range for its annual weapons qualifications training, one of its members was shocked to see that five bullet-riddled mug shots of black men left behind included her brother, from his arrest 15 years earlier in connection with a drag race that left two people dead.

The North Miami Beach Police Department snipers uses the same shooting range as the Guardsmen.

National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant got very upset and phoned her brother, Woody Deant, to tell him he was being used for police target practice.

"The picture actually has like bullet holes," Woody Deant said. "One in my forehead and one in my eye. … I was speechless."

Woody Deant said he served four years in prison yet he’s still apparently being targeted.

"I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as," he said. "I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5."

Racial profiling was not a factor in the photos, Dennis said, who noted that the sniper team includes minority officers. He said using mug shots for target practice is a common technique and helps with vital facial recognition drills. White and Hispanic males'  photographs are also used, he added.

Dennis said he had concerns that his officers used a mug shot of someone who his agency arrested.

"That individual would be someone that was on the streets of North Miami Beach," he said.

Going forward, Dennis said the department will make sure not to use any booking photos from suspects it has arrested, and he will make sure his officers remove the targets when they are done at the shooting range.

The Deant family has contacted a lawyer, Andell Brown.

"This can create a very dangerous situation," Brown said. "And it 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."

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The North Miami Beach Police Department is denying accusations of racial profiling for using mug shots of black men during target practice for their snipers, NBC South Florida reports.
miami, florida, police, target practice, blacks, mug shots
387
2015-41-16
Friday, 16 Jan 2015 07:41 AM
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