It doesn’t matter if this was a joke – in these times of unrest between police and civilians (esp. Black citizens), you simply just can’t say things like this.
Three Miami officers have been fired for commenting that the rookies should use black neighborhoods for target practice.
A large group of trainee officers in the Miami police academy use a WhatsApp group called Post22. It’s usually there as a bulletin system, or for asking questions of senior officers.
It was the latter situation that’s cost cops their jobs. A young officer asked if anyone knew a good shooting range in the city. The first answer recommended a real range; the responses that followed were more ‘creative’.
One officer started it off by recommending Bank of America, saying that he could even make some money on the training. Then it got worse: “Go to model city they have moving targets.”
Model, which includes Liberty City, is a heavily black-populated area and is notorious for its shooting crimes.
Then another cop jumped in and said, “There’s a range in overtown on 1 and 11. Moving targets and they don’t charge,” later adding, “they even run scenarios and pretend they’re shooting heroin.” This is reference to an incident that particular officer had responded to in recent months in an equally crime-ridden part of town.
Their comments quickly made their way in front of internal affairs, and after investigation three total officers were let go.
That decision has many critics. Firstly, the three cops had been probationary at the time, all relatively inexperienced, so the decision didn’t require the usual appeals processes that full-fledged cops receive. Then, compared to some of the other racism-based scandals Miami PD has dealt with recently, a few comments on a chat group seem relatively tame.
And on top of all that, two of the officers are of black heritage, which their lawyer claims makes it impossible for them to be racist:
“Two of the officers have black blood pumping through their veins. To say that they’re racist is outrageous and ludicrous.”