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Florida police officer fired over targets with likeness to Trayvon Martin

Image source: WKMG-TV

Image source: WKMG-TV

ORLANDO — A Florida police officer fired over his use of shooting targets with an image resembling slain teenager Trayvon Martin is defending himself on YouTube, saying the target was intended as a "no shoot" training aid for an instructional session.

MOBILE USERS: See Ron King's response to the criticism by clicking here.

Former Port Canaveral police officer Ron King said in a video on YouTube this weekend that the targets, which appear to depict Martin the night he was killed, were meant to prevent such tragedies in the future.

"I can tell you that using real life situations as a training scenario is not uncommon ... They are in fact what teach us to respond to incidents in the future," King said.

"The only stupid act I performed was to believe that some of my co-workers would be mature enough and care enough to use a bad situation as a learning tool," he added.

King confirmed to ABCnews.com that he was the man in the YouTube video. He could not immediately be reached by Reuters.

King, who described himself as a 25-year law enforcement officer and a longtime firearms instructor, was fired on Friday after bringing the targets to the Brevard Community College shooting range in Cocoa, Florida, in early April while on duty.

He described the targets as a silhouette of a faceless person wearing a hoodie with his hands in his pockets and holding two non-threatening items. He compared their use to other realistic training sessions depicting bank robberies, traffic stops and school shootings.

Martin, a black 17-year-old, was wearing a hoodie when he was shot in February 2012 by a neighborhood watch captain in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. In Martin's pockets were a can of tea and a bag of candy, which he bought at a neighborhood convenience store.

The then-watch captain, George Zimmerman, is set to stand trial on a second-degree murder charge on June 10. The killing drew national attention and accusations of racism after the police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman.

"It is absolutely reprehensible that a high-ranking member of the Port Canaveral Police, sworn to protect and serve Floridians, would use the image of a dead child as target practice," Martin family lawyer and spokesman Ben Crump said in a statement released to Reuters on Sunday.

The port's interim chief executive, John Walsh, apologized to the community, saying the use of targets that resembled the slain teen "was unacceptable," Port Canaveral spokeswoman Rosalind Harvey said.

King, who was hired in January 2011 and previously worked with the Melbourne, Florida, police department, has seven days to appeal the decision, she added.

King said on YouTube that the targets were never used. King acknowledged he offered a target to another sergeant for his son, and let the sergeant take a picture of the target, which he now says was wrong.

King said that sergeant filed the complaint against him. King issued an apology to the Martin family in which he indicated he believes the shooting target complaint was politically motivated.

"To the Martin family, I would like to apologize again for those law enforcement officials that chose to use your son's death as an element of their personal and political gains. I assure you that the use of these targets that are in question is to prevent a tragedy from taking place," King said.

Comments

MRKIA 1 year, 6 months ago

ANOTHER SOCIOPATH WITH A BADGE AND A GUN.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

This police officers idea was a mistake from the beginning, I could see where the Martin family would be offended by it. I see the officers view as well, but just not appropriate at this time.

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dmyers80 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree, I think he had good intentions, it was just one of those things that you dont realize how it looks until you've done it.

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terihdfxr1 1 year, 6 months ago

Welcome to the land of the offended. If it was someone in cowboy boots and a hat nothing would have been said.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

That is definatly true too.

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gotanyfacts 1 year, 6 months ago

When I read the headline, I thought what a totally stupid thing to do. After reading that the figure had no face, I downgrade it to "not a wise thing to do". If the graphic is a likeness of Martin, then Martin's family may be due compensation from companies promoting sale of their hoodies using faceless images almost identical in form to the target. Over reaction, obviously.

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agirl_25 1 year, 6 months ago

Agree, gotanyfacts. I have a hoodie and if I put it on and had the hood over my head, hands in pockets and someone had a picture of me in silhouette it would look like the figure given as part of this article (upper left). This political correctness has gone a bit too far.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

My first reaction when I read the headlines was the officer was promoting killing people with hoodies or pretending like they were shooting Martin. What a cold stupid thing to do, but like gotanyfacts says, after I read the story I realiuzed what the officer was doing, but still felt the timing was off, but people do often overeact in tieing things together.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 6 months ago

But this is exactly how some white officers think. They see a black kid in a hoodie, and think he is up to no good....so, they shoot first and ask questions later......You should not be surprised...I'm not!

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 6 months ago

I am not surprised as a race baiter that you would make such a statement. "white officers see a black kid in a hoodie, and think he is up to no good....so, they shoot first and ask questions later" Seriously "shoot first then ask questions" accusations is nothing short of baseless stereotypical comments to promote hate and distrust of the police. Try calling your local drug lord next time you need the police.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 6 months ago

Lol and I am the one that gets "Your content has been submitted for moderator approval"

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OUTsiderLookingINalbany 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh, and a few more things BUBBA. Who are commiting the majority of the crimes in the good ole city of Albany, Georgia? Or any other Liberal strong hold in this nation for that matter? Thats right, young black males. Also, criminals try to keep themselves concealed for fear of being identified by witnesses and authorities. To help aid them in being harder to identify the criminals use hoodies to keep their heads covered. It is Criminality 101. What stricks me is odd (RACIST) is that the black community does not focus on the real problem of their youth becoming corrupt, worthless citizens. INSTEAD they direct their concern at the people "profiling", "sterotyping", and other non-productive means of solving the REAL problem. There are reasons for sterotyping. IF most bank roberies were committed by green glowing aliens, would it make sense to be searching white and black communities or go looking for actual green glowing aliens? Your probably a Dougherty County School graduate, so I'm not expecting much of an intelligent answer.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 6 months ago

@Out come on now we all know if it walks likes a duck and quacks like a duck then it has to be a Chicken!

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gotanyfacts 1 year, 6 months ago

BSR... Really, do you think through what you say? How about some evidence. I would like to know who and where these officers are and what has been done about their actions. Or, have you developed that power even Sister does not claim? Is it true? Can you read minds???

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TRUTH101 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder if he would have issued out a training aid with 5 yr olds holding books........

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OUTsiderLookingINalbany 1 year, 6 months ago

When training to use a firearm, it is always good to be able to differentiate between friendly or foe within split seconds. I am sure many of the training academies across this country have exercises set up with targets that memic lethal adversaries and innocent civilians. If you would get past your love for thug martin and look at simply facts, maybe you could bring a legitimate arguement to the conversation.

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TRUTH101 1 year, 6 months ago

http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Trayvon-Martin-target.jpg

He is either dumb as h3ll or ignorant red-neck to think this would be a good training tool......

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OUTsiderLookingINalbany 1 year, 6 months ago

Isn't being "dumb as h3ll" the equivalent of being "ignorant". You seperate these two characteristics with an "or", which contradicts your two arguements with-in the same sentence. Stay in school fool.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

Why do people wear hoodies when the temperature is 88 degrees outside?

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Beautiful_Monte 1 year, 6 months ago

I have always found it very interesting that some people go out of their way to look like thugs ... and then get upset when other people perceive them as such.

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