North Miami Beach Police Chief: We Made A Mistake

Jan 20, 2015

Bullet riddled target sheet shows mugshot black men arrested by North Miami Beach police.
Credit NBC 6

The North Miami Beach Police Department has been using mugshots of young black men for target practice during sniper drills.

The practice drew international headlines after Valerie Deant recognized her brother’s mugshot on a bullet-riddled target sheet at a Medley gun range after North Miami Beach police left.

On Tuesday evening, North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis apologized to a predominantly African-American crowd during an emergency community meeting.

“I know how I would have felt if that had been my son’s picture that someone was shooting at for whatever reason,” he said. “Listen, you’ve got to hear it from the heart. We are sorry. My police department is sorry and I represent that police department. We made a mistake."

Dennis said the photos of the African-American men were taken out of context by the media. He said his department also used mugshots of whites and Hispanics, and that some were people the North Miami Beach police arrested years ago.

But, he added, regardless of the individual’s race, North Miami Beach police will no longer use real mugshots for target practice.