Update: Mug Shots Banned in North Miami Beach Police Target Practice

Update: Mug Shots Banned in North Miami Beach Police Target Practice

Despite an apology from Police Chief J. Scott Dennis, among other officials, many residents are still demanding the chief's resignation.

Published January 21, 2015

UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, 4:30 p.m.

A Miami police force has been banned from using mug shots of Black men for target practice following a heated council meeting earlier this week, AP reports. The council also voted to review police policies.

Police Chief J. Scott Dennis spoke with The Miami Herald about the practice, saying he feels "very, very badly."

"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. The resolution memorializes it in law."

City Manager Ana Garcia also asked the outraged community for forgiveness and extended "an apology from the bottom of our hearts."

However, some officials, like Councilman Frantz Pierre and Mayor George Vallejo, were not satisfied with the resolution.

"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.

Councilman Pierre and many angry residents are still demanding that Chief Dennis resign.

*****

The North Miami Beach Police Department has been using the faces of African-American men as target practice at a local gun range, according to a local NBC affiliate.

Sgt. Valerie Deant, of the Florida Army National Guard's 13th Army Band, discovered this last month while at the shooting range with fellow soldiers. Worst of all, she recognized her brother's face among the targets. Woody Deant had been arrested 15 years ago in connection to a drag race that left two people dead.

“I was like, 'Why is my brother being used for target practice?'" Deant told NBC Miami. “There were like gunshots there. And I cried a couple of times.”

Woody was 18 when the mug shot was taken, and he spent four years in prison after his arrest. “The picture actually has, like, bullet holes,” he said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye.… I was speechless."

The shooting range does not choose the targets used by law enforcement officials at its facilities. North Miami Beach police chief J. Scott Dennis says his officers should have used better judgment, but that they will not face any disciplinary action.

Editor's note: The title on this story inadvertently named the Florida City Police, which was not involved in using mugshots as target practice. This has been since been changed.

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(Photo: NBC 6 South Florida)

Written by BET-Staff

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