A National Guard soldier at a firing range in South Florida discovered that police who had just been at the range were using a 15-year-old mug shot of her brother for target practice. Valerie Deant, who is black, was at the range for weapons qualification training with other members of the Guard when she found the bullet-ridden pictures of her brother and other black men, NBC Miami reports.
What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the guardsmen.
Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother. It was Woody Deant’s mug shot that taken 15 years ago, after he was arrested in connection to a drag race in 2000 that left two people dead. His mug shot was among the pictures of five minorities used as targets by North Miami Beach police, all of them riddled by bullets.
The North Miami Beach police chief denies that there was a racial element to the selection of the mug shots and says that his department commonly uses pictures of real people for target practice. The NBC station surveyed other area law enforcement agencies and couldn’t find any besides North Miami Beach that use images of actual humans during weapons training.