A Police Department in Georgia Has Apologized for Using a Picture of a Black Guy as a Target

The Georgia Police Department has issued an apology after video of a pistol training course was posted online showing many white participants shooting a portrait of a Black man for target practice. Some people in the community are outraged by the footage.

After the public outcry, a police department spokesman told ABC News that the human images will no longer be utilized for civilian target practice but would still be used for law enforcement training.

The Villa Rica Police Department said the images are one of “various ethnic groups” included in the target practice photos, but video captured by ABC affiliate WSB-TV before they were deleted shows only images of a Black man being used by civilian class participants.

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The seeming exclusivity of photographs featuring a Black male drew criticism from online commenters. One comment on the police department’s Facebook page stated, “Hating and being afraid of [Black] people is taught at home, at police training, and apparently random handgun classes.”

The NAACP chapter in Carroll County voiced their disapproval of the department’s targeting tactics, which included the use of photographs. “These types of targets have been used by other police departments within the U.S. and have been deemed racially inappropriate and unacceptable,” said NAACP Carroll County President Dominique Conteh in an online statement.

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The NAACP chapter in Carroll County did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment. “I don’t think you should have any human being as a target whether they are Black, white, Asian,” Conteh said in a comment to a local Fox affiliate.

More understanding “as to the reasoning as to why those targets are ‘unacceptable and deemed racist,’” as Conteh put it in his remarks, might be gained through diversity training. The police department issued a statement online saying, “It was never our intention to be insensitive, inflammatory, or offensive to anyone.”

The department said it “strives to be conscious of how our relationship with our community members has a direct impact on our effectiveness within the community we serve.”

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