Former Sgt. Ron King was fired from the Port Canaveral Police Department last week after he brought gun range targets that resembled the slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin to a shooting course he taught as a side job. According to CNN, an internal investigation determined that King possessed the paper targets and offered them to a fellow officer for use in firearms training.
King claims that he only brought the targets as a training tool meant to urge his students to think before they shoot.
The targets depict a faceless body wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a pack of skittles in the front pocket, a can of tea in the right hand and a large white target in the middle of the chest. According to WKMG in Orlando, the targets were a product of an unknown entrepreneur who admitted that he was trying to profit off of Martin’s death. The entrepreneur advertised his product on a popular firearms website in May of last year where he wrote he supports Zimmerman, says he is innocent and that “he shot a thug.”
The fact that these targets were bought and sold with such ill-intent is proof enough that even possessing them, regardless of the intentions, would be supporting the sick and twisted person who got a cheap thrill off of selling them.
In a YouTube video, King apologized to Martin’s family. He did not apologize because he showed up to a shooting range to teach a firearms safety class with paper targets resembling their son who was shot and killed last year. Rather, he was sorry that somebody else was using Martin’s death and King’s termination as a pawn in their political and career agenda.
But there is nothing political about this situation.
It does not matter what excuse King came up with; his actions were reprehensible, disrespectful and definitely grounds for termination. An apology to Martin’s family does not make up for owning and carrying around the posters, not to mention using them in target practice — regardless of the intended training technique.
Any well-intentioned and level-headed individual would see that the targets in question were disgracefully disrespectful and demonized a teen who was murdered. If King did not have the common sense to notice how insensitive the targets were, then he does not deserve to carry a badge and work for any police force.