A Florida police officer accused of bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a gun range has been fired. He has since released a YouTube video responding to the allegations against him. [Scroll down to watch.]
Port Canaveral Interim Chief Executive Officer John Walsh told WFTV on Saturday that Sgt. Ron King was leading a target practice with two other Port Canaveral police officers and a civilian port employee when he pulled out the targets April 4. Walsh says King asked the group if they wanted to use the targets and they said no, telling King to put them back into his patrol car.
Port Canaveral is about 50 miles southeast of Sanford, where the 17-year-old Martin was killed in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense. His trial is set for June.
In a video response posted to YouTube, King begins, “apologizes to Trayvon Martin’s family “for being used as a pawn in somebody’s political agenda.” He goes on to quote a witness statement backing his claim that the targets were part of a “no shoot training aide” and that “no derogatory comments were made.” He explains that a company started selling silhouetted targets of a man wearing a hoodie with his hands in his pockets holding non-threatening objects in his hand, which he viewed as a no-shoot situation. “While others used it as a novelty, I view it as a tool for scenario-based firearms training.”
Listen to his full explanation below. The meat of it begins at 2:37.