A Florida police sergeant fought back Saturday against a police investigation that led to his firing Friday for bringing cutouts resembling black teenage shooting victim Trayvon Martin to target practice.
Sgt. Ron King, a firearms instructor at the Port Canaveral Police Department, brought the targets to a gun range April 4 and asked if other officers and a civilian would like to shoot their guns at the hoodie-wearing figures, the department said. The officers declined.
King was fired Friday following an internal investigation by Port Canaveral police, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
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In a YouTube video posted Saturday night, King said he was the victim of “lies, false information and a political agenda,” claiming that the targets were teaching devices.
“I take these allegations seriously and I find that others are accusing me of something that I just plain did not do,” King says in the video, claiming that a sergeant objected to the targets because of a “political agenda.” He said the Martin family and himself were being used as “pawns.”
John Walsh, interim chief executive officer of Port Canaveral, said whatever King’s justification was, he still acted unprofessionally.
"Whether his act is one of hatred or stupidity, neither one is tolerable," Walsh told the Sentinel.
Trayvon was the 15-year-old who was shot and killed by volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in February 2012 in the gated community of Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense, and said Trayvon was up to no good when he spotted him acting suspiciously. Trayvon had just bought a bag of Skittles and had his hoodie on in the rain when he and Zimmerman go into a scuffle and the teen was shot.
Zimmerman is awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder in a case that captured national attention.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon’s family, said in a statement that he was outraged over the Trayvon lookalike targets.
"Using a dead child's image as target practice is reprehensible,” Crump said, according to WFTV.