A Florida police sergeant fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets is speaking out and says the targets were used as “no-shoot” tools during training.
Sgt. Ron King of Port Canaveral Police Department was fired Friday after an internal review investigated how he offered the hoodie paper shooting targets to two fellow officers, said John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
The officers, who saw King with the targets in his police vehicle, declined the offer, Walsh said
King fired back in a video posted online after he was fired saying that the intent begind the targets was misunderstood.
“I would like to start my statement by first apologizing to the family of Trayvon Martin for being used as a pawn in somebody’s political agenda,” King said in a video posted on YouTube.
King went on to say that the images were never intended to be used as part of a target practice, but would have only been used in “a no-shoot situation” as training tools.
“As a result of last year’s Trayvon Martin shooting, a company offered for sale a target of a faceless silhouette wearing a hoodie with his hands in his pockets, one of which was holding two objects, these objects in the hand were non-threatening and the target was something that I viewed as a no-shoot situation,” King said in the video.
In February 2012, Martin, 17, was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge in Martin’s death.
Martin family attorney Ben Crump condemned the use of the targets.
“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.”
Walsh said the Canaveral Port Authority plans to apologize to the Martin family.
King brought two of the targets to a firearms training session on April 4 at the Brevard Community College campus in Cocoa, Florida, CNN affiliate WFTV reported.
King, who bought the targets on the Internet, and other officers at the training site were on duty at the time, the affiliate said. Port officials said King had been employed at the police department since January 2011, the affiliate said.