Dumb idea: showing your police pals your Trayvon Martin shooting target -- complete with crosshairs over his heart and a pack of Skittles in the pocket of his hoodie. Dumber idea: letting one colleague take a photo of you with the target to "show his son." A cop in Port Canaveral did both last month, and today he's out of a job after that fellow officer instead gave the photo evidence to the chief.
But Sgt. Ron King can explain! In a video posted on YouTube, he says he bought the targets as an educational aid, certainly not to shoot at.
That excuse doesn't do much for the chief, John Walsh, who tells the Orlando Sentinel: "Whether his act is one of hatred or stupidity, neither one is tolerable."
King doesn't dispute the facts: At some point, he went online and bought a shooting target modeled on Martin, the unarmed Miami teen killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford last year. Presumably, it looked something like this:
Yes, the Internet is a horrible place.
King, who taught a firearms course, then thought it would be a great idea to bring these targets to a Cocoa, Florida range at the beginning of April. When he showed them off to another sergeant, the man "chuckled" and said he was always joking with his son when he wore hoodies by calling him "Trayvon." He asked if he could take a photo of King with the target to share with his kid.
Instead, that sergeant took the pics right to the chief, who fired King last Friday.
King took to YouTube over the weekend to defend himself. In a five-minute video, he apologizes to Trayvon's family and his police department, but claims he's the victim of a political agenda.
Rather than shoot at the Trayvon outline, his intent was to use it in class as a training aid on when NOT to shoot, King claims.
"It was a non-shoot training aid," he says. "Using real-life scenarios, a training scenario is not uncommon... The target is something I viewed as a no-shoot situation."
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Listen, Sergeant King. If your students really need a visual aid to understand that shooting at someone solely because they're wearing a hoodie is a no-no, this state is in a hell of a lot of trouble.
Here's his video: