Mug shots are supposed to have a single purpose: to identify criminals. However, the North Miami Beach Police Department seemed to have other ideas. They hung up the mug shots of five men to use as "practice targets" at a shooting range in Medley last month.
But what is even more appalling then shooting at the photos of humans?
All five of them were African American.
One woman, Sgt. Valerie Deant, showed up to the shooting range with the Florida Army National Guard's 13th Army for their annual weapons training. To her surprise, one of the targets placed on the wall was of her brother. The picture of Woody Deant was taken 15 years ago, so the North Miami Beach Police Department did not just hang up the most recent mug shots - they were selective. Perhaps they selected five African Americans on purpose... what are the odds that all five just happened to be black?
One of the police chiefs named J. Scott Dennis acknowledges that what they did not make the best judgement, but denies racial profiling. He explains that they have minority officers on their team. Similar to the idea of TV Tokenism, I think Dennis is using the minority officers as real-life "tokens". His claims intended meaning was, "Of course we did not purposely select all blacks! We have minorities on our own team!"
The fact that the police department choose to paste the images of five black men is extremely inappropriate, especially with every thing that just happened in Ferguson. Policemen have shot innocent, black men, and this situation is an exact parallel to that, but on a smaller scale.