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Michigan Police Department Accused Of Only Using Images Of Black Men For Target Practice

Michigan Police Department Accused Of Only Using Images Of Black Men For Target Practice
WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7/YouTube

A Michigan police department accused of using paper targets of Black men in their shooting range has denied the allegation.

According to Fox 2 Detroit, the lineup of Black shooting targets was allegedly discovered by a cub scout troop leader whose group was touring the police department in the Farmington Hills community back in April.

The practice has raised concerns from the community who viewed the alleged incident as one that motivates systemic racial profiling.

"They took the little kids, this Cub Scout troop down to the basement where they do the target practice," said Attorney Dionne Webster-Cox, adding, "their targets are all Black men. I was just outraged by that."

Photos taken during the tour drummed up attention and prompted frustrated community members to speak out at a recent council meeting and demand an independent review of the alleged practice.

In response to the backlash, the Farmington Hills Police Department issued a statement claiming the allegation was false.

Fox 2 Detroit said the FHPD stated in the press release that the police were "offered no official invitation, information, or notice related to this situation. Additionally, the Department was afforded no opportunity to investigate or respond."

The release said Police Chief Jeff King ordered a "comprehensive review of the accusations raised," which according to police found the department used 11 white targets and two Black targets.

They maintained the findings "are consistent with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) and the City’s demographics."

King apologized to the community at the council meeting regarding their complaint but called the accusation a "mischaracterization," adding there were White targets up as well. He emphasized that "a majority of [the targets] were White."

"We are looking at it as an opportunity to strengthen not strengthen and review our training and our practices and to further strengthen our community and address their concerns," said King.

The Police Chief also wrote a statement in which he shared his strategy to improve the situation.

"I cannot overstress the seriousness of these accusations. Considering the emotional impact this could have on our community, and in keeping with our agency’s commitment and partnership with our citizens, I am ordering an immediate legal review of our training system and targets, to be completed prior to our fall training cycle."

He continued:

"The women and men of the Farmington Hills Police Department serve this City with integrity, dedication, and professionalism every day."
"Each member strives to constantly reinforce our commitment to protect and serve the public, partner with our citizens, and strengthen our outstanding community relationships."
"As Chief, I feel it is my duty to ensure that these efforts are never demeaned, mischaracterized, or misrepresented, which only serves to undermine our relationship with our community."

You can watch a news report here.

Controversial Farmington Hills police training

This wasn't the first time the department was under fire for the same accusation.

After researching the FHPD, Attorney Cox discovered a Black police officer on the force filed a complaint against the department charging racial bias.

Said Cox:

"In July 2021 the ACLU had sent a (Freedom of Information Act) Request over to The Farmington Hills Police Department requesting how much money has been spent regarding, I guess, target practice."

Based on results from the request, the attorney said the FHPD had not been using all the ordered materials for target practice.

"They ordered this target - they had lots of groups, Caucasians, it was very diverse."
"Now how is it that you ordered these, but the only ones you are actually using is the Black men?"