Georgia Police Department Cries They ‘Made A Mistake’ After Using Photos Of A Black Man For Target Practice
A controversy has developed in Georgia after the Villa Rica police department used a photograph of a Black man for target practice during a firearms safety class. According to NBC News, the police department, located roughly 33 miles west of Atlanta, is now under investigation.
Photos of people participating in the target practice, aiming their weapons at a life-sized picture of a Black man, were posted on social media, causing an uproar.
Although the photos have since been deleted from the police department’s Facebook page, the damage has already been done after social media users took screenshots of the post, causing it to go viral.
Following the incident, the Villa Rica Police Department released a statement saying, “The targets utilized in our recent firearms class depicted realistic human images and were part of a package which included target images of people from various ethnic groups. It was never our intention to be insensitive, inflammatory, or offensive to anyone. However, we respect the honest opinions of our fellow citizens and apologize for any offense we may have caused. We invite everyone to attend one of our next citizen firearms classes and share in a positive experience alongside us.”
Villa Rica’s Chief of Police, Michael Mansour, told NBC News that the targets with Black men are typically used in various police departments throughout the state for training, and they also use white and Asian targets. However, the only photos posted on its Facebook page were of the Black targets. Mansour, who would not identify the officer responsible for posting the images, stated that using those images was a mistake.
“It’s just an innocent mistake, but it was a mistake,” Mansour told NBC News. “And I’m very transparent in saying that we messed up. But at no time will I accept people telling me I’m a racist or our department is a racist because we made a mistake.”
The NAACP of Carroll County, located in the same area as the police department, wrote an open letter to Mansour stating the targets used were “extremely offensive” and requested a meeting with city leaders.