Officer Fired For Using Trayvon Martin Targets

By: CBS News; Associated Press Email
By: CBS News; Associated Press Email

CBS Web Copy

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. A police sergeant with the Port Canaveral Police Department has been fired after it was discovered he was conducting practice with targets resembling Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie, reports CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG.

Sgt. Ron King, who had been with the Port Canaveral police force for two years, was fired for allegedly using them as target practice.

"Whether it was his stupidity or his hatred, (this is) not acceptable," said Port Authority interim CEO Jim Walsh.

Walsh said it happened at a training exercise earlier this month. King was teaching a shooting course to other officers and allegedly had the posters in his patrol car.

The posters display a hooded sweatshirt with a target on the chest, Skittles in the pocket and iced tea in a hand. Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in a gated Sanford community last year after purchasing candy and a beverage from a nearby store. Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense. His murder trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Witnesses said King offered the posters to other officers as a target.

King owns a company in which he offers firearm training and personal safety coaching. He also spent nearly 22 years with the Melbourne Police Department.

According to King's LinkedIn profile, he was a night shift watch commander and is also a firearms instructor and personal safety consultant.

King posted a video on YouTube, watch left, saying his actions were misunderstood and he created the Trayvon posters as means for officers to think before firing too quickly. He apologized to the Martin family.

"We are offended by this. We are outraged that one of our officers would have this conduct," said Walsh. "It is not tolerable. It is not acceptable."

Trayvon Martin's family attorney released a statement saying, "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."

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Associated Press Release

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- A police officer accused of bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a gun range has been fired.

Port Canaveral Interim Chief Executive Officer John Walsh said 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.


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