A Florida police officer was fired for using Trayvon Martin’s likeness as target practice during a training session in early April. Sgt. Ron King was let go Friday (April 12) after an internal investigation revealed that he gave the image to other officers to practice their aim.
King — a 25-year veteran and professional firearms instructor–was ratted out by his own team. The officers told officials once they learned that he’d be using the image of a figure in a hoodie, resembling the slain teenager. They also refused to practice on the target, telling the sergeant that “they didn’t think it was appropriate.”
The discrepancy led to an internal investigation, which resulted in King’s firing. “Whether his [King’s] act is one of hatred or stupidity, neither one is tolerable,” said Port Canaveral Interim Chief Executive Officer John Walsh, who also apologized to Martin’s family.
In a video posted online Saturday (April 13) , King explained his decision. “I would like to start my statement by first apologizing to the family of Trayvon Martin for being used as a pawn in somebody’s political agenda,” he said. “Additionally I would like to apologize to my fellow law enforcement officers for any negative light that [has] come from this incident.”
He goes on to peg himself as the victim. “I refuse to sit by while others use the Martin family and myself as a way to further their own political and career agenda.”
Contrary to claims from the investigation, King asserts that the target was used as a “non-shooting training aid.” Although he confirmed that the image was wearing a hoodie and had two objects in his hand (similar to Martin who was carrying ice tea and a pack of Skittles when he was gunned down), King says that the objects were “non-threatening,” and that he used the target the target was viewed as a “no-shoot situation.”
Martin’s family lawyer Benjamin Crump isn’t buying King’s admission. “Using a dead child’s image as target practice is reprehensible,” he said.
The trial of Martin’s accused killer, George Zimmerman will being in June.
Watch King’s video below.