Florida city bans use of mug shots in police target practice

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A city council in Florida has banned its police force from using mug shots of black men for target practice after a National Guard member found a photo of her brother laced with bullets in a trash can last month.

Dozens of angry residents decried the policy and demanded the police chief’s resignation at a North Miami Beach City Council meeting Tuesday. The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/1yHsLnG) reports some carried poster-sized photos of Police Chief J. Scott Dennis riddled with bullet holes.

After some two hours of heated debate, the council voted to permanently ban the practice and to review police policies.

“We need to make a statement at this level, as the elected representatives of this city, that that practice is unacceptable,” Mayor George Vallejo said.

City Manager Ana Garcia asked for forgiveness, saying “this is an apology from the bottom of our hearts.”

The department’s practice came to light after a Florida Army National Guard member spotted a photo of her brother, Woody Deant, laced with bullets in a garbage can at a shooting range last month. Deant’s photo was from 15 years ago. The Herald reported that Deant spent four years in prison and is now working and is a husband and father.

“I want the police who did this to apologize,” said Lisa Kelly, who said a photo of her son Tyquan Kelly from nine years ago had been used for target practice.

The chief told the Herald he feels “very, very badly” about the practice.

“I sincerely apologized for what my department has done,” he said. “This was a training program that had been going on long before I was here and when I found out about it, I ceased it.”

Councilman Frantz Pierre said he wasn’t satisfied with the resolution and called for the chief’s resignation.

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