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A South Florida family is outraged at North Miami Beach Police after mug shots of African American men were used as targets at a shooting range for police training.
It was an ordinary Saturday morning last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant arrived at the shooting range in Medley, or so she thought.
Deant, who plays clarinet with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, and her fellow soldiers were at the shooting range for their annual weapons qualifications training.
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. “I was like 'why is my brother being used for target practice?'" Deant asked.
Deant’s fellow guardsmen were angry too, but they tried to console Deant, who was devastated. “There were like gunshots there,” Deant said. “And I cried a couple of times.” She immediately called her brother, Woody Deant, who was 18 years old when the picture was taken. “The picture actually has like bullet holes,” Woody Deant said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye. …I was speechless," he added. The City of Medley owns the Medley Firearms Training Center and it leases the facilities to law enforcement agencies in the area. The shooting range staff doesn’t select the targets use by law enforcement and the military.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, but denies any racial profiling.
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