Michigan Police Under Fire Over Officers' Usage of Black Men's Images as Shooting Targets

A Michigan police department will conduct a legal review after photographs showing shooting targets with the images of Black men on them were taken at the department's practice area.

The photographs were taken during a Boy Scouts field trip to the Farmington Hills police department in April, prompting allegations of racial bias after the images showed targets of Black men holding weapons and children gathered around one of the targets.

Farmington Hills police department
The images of Black men that were being used as shooting targets at the Farmington Hills Police Department. Twitter

Attorney Dionne Webster-Cox said in a Facebook post last month that a family reported photos of Black men "riddled" with bullet holes in target practice to her law office following the Boy Scouts trip to the police department.

She said the family asked her to speak on their behalf and to share the photos they took. "These organizations and municipalities must practice radical honesty in acknowledging their negative biases and find ways to change. Otherwise, you will have even bigger discrimination cases and more lawsuits against the city of Farmington Hills, its school districts, and the police department," Webster-Cox said.

Michigan Police Chief Issues Apology, To Conduct Legal Review

According to The Hill, Jeff King, Michigan police chief of the Farmington Hills, has apologized after photos revealed his department used targets with images of Black men for shooting practice.

King said at a city council meeting late last month that the department is conducting a legal review of the matter. "I'll take this one on the chin. I apologize to each and every person in this room, this community, my department, my city council, my city manager," said King.

Farmington Hills police department
The photographs taken at the Farmington Hills Police Department showed the images of black men being used for target practice. Twitter

King stated that he accepts responsibility for how the training was conducted and apologized to the community, the department and the city council. King states one of the biggest focuses for training is exposure to people based on certain situations and not what they look like.

"We have a diverse community," King said. "Our community, as well as our department is diverse, inclusive, and that doesn't stop at our training."

The legal review will analyze the department's target demographics and how the police officers use the targets. King said that any future visits from community organizations would receive an explanation on how targets are selected. He also apologized to the Boy Scouts troop for not providing a full explanation of the targets.

The targets have been removed from the practice area, according to city officials."I don't see a good reason to use those targets at all," said the councilman Michael Bridges during the council meeting in June.