Police chief admits shooting practice targets are images of Black men, asks for forgiveness

·2 min read

The targets were discovered during a Boy Scout troop’s recent tour of the Farmington Hills Police Department headquarters in a suburb of Detroit.

The chief of police in a suburb of Detroit has admitted that his department used only paper targets of Black men at their shooting range.

The targets were discovered during a Boy Scout troop’s recent tour of the Farmington Hills Police Department headquarters, according to WXYZ-TV. Police Chief Jeff King is asking the public for forgiveness.

Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King apologized at a public meeting after the discovery that officers in his department only used targets of Black men at their shooting range. (Photo: City of Farmington Hills, Hometownlife.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King apologized at a public meeting after the discovery that officers in his department only used targets of Black men at their shooting range. (Photo: City of Farmington Hills, Hometownlife.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

“I’ll take this one on the chin,” he said at a public meeting. “I apologize to each and every person in this room, this community, my department, my city council, my city manager. I can’t overlook this.”

Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett said all of the targets have been removed, and the city — which is 20 percent African American — plans to conduct a legal review.

Councilman Michael Bridges said the targets are offensive.

“Silhouette would have been most appropriate,” Bridges said, “I don’t see a good reason to use those targets at all.”

Another council member claimed that of the 2,300 images used during target practice, 185 are of Black men.

Kevin Clark, a Black Farmington Hills police officer at the meeting, told attendees the department uses a variety of targets in order to address implicit bias. But an unidentified area resident — showing photos she says were taken by a parent on the tour — asserted otherwise.

“What I see here is these are actually Black men in hoodies,” she said, “and they are actually holding guns, and they are actually Black men. They are not black, gray or white.”

According to the report, a second unnamed Black resident said he believed other police departments in surrounding towns should also be reviewed.

“I’m sure all the other cities in this area and the cities that heard this story went downstairs in their basement and checked what their dummies looked like,” he told those assembled. “That’s the good thing that comes out of this story.”

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