Six mug shots used for target practice by snipers from the North Miami Beach (Fla.) Police Department.

Six mug shots used for target practice by snipers from the North Miami Beach (Fla.) Police Department.

By Stephen A. Crockett Jr., theRoot.com

Florida Army National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant was reduced to tears Saturday after she arrived at a firing range and found that target photos left behind by a local police sniper team were live mug shots, including a photo of her brother.

The North Miami Beach, Fla., police department is under fire after a woman discovered that not only were police using actual mug shots of African-American men as shooting targets at a firing range, but that one of the men in the photos, bearing bullet holes from a police pistol, was the woman’s brother.

On Saturday, Sgt. Valerie Deant went to a shooting range with other troops from the Florida Army National Guard for “annual weapons qualifications training,” according to NBC Miami.

North Miami Beach police snipers had used the range before them, and once Deant and her fellow guardsmen arrived they were shocked to see that mug shots of African-American men were used as target practice. Deant found that one of the men in the photos was her brother, Woody Deant, whose mug shot was taken 15 years ago. Woody Deant was 18 years old when the photograph was taken

“I was like, ‘Why is my brother being used for target practice?'” Deant told the news station. “There were like gunshots there, and I cried a couple of times.”

According to NBC Miami, the Medley Firearms Training Center leases the shooting range to law-enforcement agencies in the area and is not responsible for supplying targets to visitors.

While North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admits that the snipers could have used better judgment, he doesn’t believe that the use of an all-African-American photo lineup for target practice is racial profiling, and added that his sniper team has minority officers. Dennis also told the news station, “Pictures are vital for facial-recognition drills.”

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