Sgt. Ron King of Florida has defended his use of "Trayvon Martin" shooting targets to train officers of the Port Canaveral Police Department after being fired for the practice Friday.
In a video posted online, King says his intentions were to use the shooting targets as examples of "no-shoot" situations. The Trayvon shooting targets were shaped as hoodies that "held" a bag of skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea, the items the 17-year-old was carrying the night he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.
"While others have used it as a novelty, I view it as a tool for scenario-based firearms training," King said. "The only stupid act I performed was to believe that some of my coworkers would be mature enough and care enough to use a bad situation as a learning tool."
Another sergeant filed a complaint about the targets after King gave them to him. King says the sergeant wanted the targets for his son who would get a "kick out of them." But John Walsh, the Canaveral Port Authority police chief, said the behavior was "unacceptable."
"When informed of the basic facts, [I] found the entire situation unacceptable," Walsh said, according to CNN. "It is not the type of behavior that I want a police officer to have on both a personal and professional level. I find his conduct intolerable and I demanded that the chief immediately start procedures to terminate this employee."
King has apologized for the behavior in the video, but Benjamin Crump, Trayvon's family attorney, does not find King's practices acceptable.
"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," Crump said in a statement. "Such a deliberate and depraved indifference to this grieving family is unacceptable. The citizens of Port Canaveral deserve better."
Florida judge Debra S. Nelson has set June 10 for the trial of George Zimmerman, the one time neighborhood watch volunteer.
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(Photo: Courtesy Martin Family)
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