A Port Canaveral police sergeant and firearms instructor was fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets, authorities said Saturday.
Sgt. Ron King, a two-year veteran on the force, was fired Friday after an internal investigation uncovered he offered the target to fellow officers, according to John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
The paper target, which was reported on last year when it was first being sold online, is a black and white image of a figure in the hoodie, which has no face, but has a bag of Skittles in a pocket and a can of iced tea in its hand. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin purchased both of these items just minutes before he was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Feb. 26, 2012.
King offered the targets to two officers at a range near Cocoa during the first week of April, Rosalind Harvey, spokeswoman for Port Caneveral police, said Saturday.
According to Walsh the two officers declined King’s offer and did not take the targets.
"Whether his [King's] act is one of hatred or stupidity, neither one is tolerable," Walsh said.
"Port Canaveral Police Department considers that behavior unacceptable," he added about Walsh’s conduct.
The Martin family responded to the targets through their attorney Ben Crump.
"It is absolutely reprehensible that a high-ranking member of the Port Canaveral Police, sworn to protect and serve Floridians, would use the image of a dead child as target practice," Crump said in a statement. "Such a deliberate and depraved indifference to this grieving family is unacceptable."
In a video King posted to Youtube late Saturday, he claims he did not intend for the target to be shot, but rather for the target to be used “as a learning tool.” He said he offered the target to officers specifically as a “no-shoot training aid.” After apologizing to the Martin family he insisted he was “used as a pawn in somebody’s political agenda.”
Before he was hired by the Port Canaveral department, King worked as a police officer in Melbourne for almost 22 years. He has a month to appeal his termination.