Georgia police apologizes for use of ‘black man’ as target practice
A police department in Georgia has issued an apology after receiving backlash for posting and subsequently deleting footage that depicted white participants in a handgun training course using a photo of a Black man as a target.
The video, which has since been removed, stirred outrage within the community.
According to a representative from the police department, civilian target practice will no longer involve human images following the public outcry.
However, the images will still be utilized for law enforcement training in accordance with established standards.
The Villa Rica Police Department had initially shared the footage online, which was captured by ABC affiliate WSB-TV prior to its deletion.
Although the department stated that the target practice photos featured individuals from “various ethnic groups,” the footage exclusively showcased a black man. Online commenters criticized the decision to solely use images of a black male.
One Facebook comment on the police department’s post read, “Hating and being afraid of [Black] people is taught at home, at police training, and apparently random handgun classes.”
The use of these photos as targets drew condemnation from the Carroll County branch of the NAACP.
The President of NAACP Carroll County, Dominique Conteh, referred to them as racially inappropriate and unacceptable.
Dominique Conteh said in an online statement, “These types of targets have been used by other police departments within the U.S. and have been deemed racially inappropriate and unacceptable.”
Conteh called for a meeting with the department’s leadership to discuss the incident and suggested that diversity training would provide insight into why such targets are considered racist.
Villa Rica Mayor, Gil McDougal, has ordered the removal of the images from social media and initiated an independent investigation into the incident. The NAACP Carroll County has not yet responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
Conteh emphasized that regardless of race or ethnicity, no human being should be used as a target. “I don’t think you should have any human being as a target, whether they are Black, white, Asian,” Conteh stated in a comment to a local Fox affiliate.
The police department expressed regret in an online statement, asserting that it never intended to be insensitive, inflammatory, or offensive to anyone.
They emphasized their commitment to maintaining a positive relationship with the community they serve, acknowledging that this relationship directly impacts their effectiveness.