The chief of a Michigan police department is apologizing after it was revealed his force has been using images of black men as targets at the force’s firing range.
The photos were shared last month on Facebook by attorney Dionne Webster-Coxwho said he was posting the images on behalf of a family who were touring the Farmington Hills Police Department as part of a Boy Scout outing.
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One of the photos shows dangling targets of black men holding guns. The children represent huddled around one of the targets.
“This community does not need an overly aggressive police officer who wants to exert his authority,” Webster-Cox said in a Facebook post. “No matter how many defenses police offer to justify this incident, having school children or adults exposed to this practice is ignorance.”
Webster-Cox said that she is not sharing family identity who sent him the photos, but told CNN affiliate WXYZ that he was asked to “speak on their behalf.”
Police Chief Jeff King apologized during a city council meeting last week.
“Sick take this on the chinI apologize to each and every person in this room, this community, my department, my city council, my city manager,” he said, according to CNN.
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“I can’t gloss over this, but I promise you this, this will make us stronger, this will make us better, this will make us more transparent, and this community as a whole will come out better for this.”
The Guardian reports that King added that the the use of representations complies with the Michigan Law Enforcement Standards Commission, and that the targets used for training are 85 percent white and 15 percent black.
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Farmington Hills Police Officer Kevin Clark defended WXYZ’s use of targets, saying that officers shoot at black, white and gray targets, and that the use of images of people of color helps officers work through implicit bias.
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“I’ve got has never been trained to shoot in any particular racegender, age or anything of this nature,” Clark said.
A parent on the outing told the outlet that they see it differently.
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“What I see here is that these are actually black men with hoodies and they’re actually wielding guns, and they’re actually black men, they’re not black or gray or white,” they said.
The city of Farmington Hills said in a Facebook statement that after a “comprehensive reviewThey found that the department uses 11 white targets and two black targets.
King apologized to the Scout troop during last week’s council meeting “for not providing a full explanation of those goals.” In addition, he said that he would order an immediate legal review of the training systems and objectives, to be completed before the fall training cycle.
Mayor Vicki Barnett told CNN that the targets have been shot down while the city conducts its review.
“We’ve been told that there are reasons why those images are used to address implicit bias in training, but we think it’s important to understand the full context in which they’re used,” he said. “We will also compare our training practices with regional municipalities and provide a full report on our findings to the community.”
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