A police department in The Villa Rica (GA) police department apologized after it was discovered that they used photos of a black man on the firing range as targets. The targets were being used in a gun safety class sponsored by the agency.
The outrage began after the department posted on Facebook the training, which included photos that showed white attendees firing at targets, each one with the same image on it: a Black man pointing a gun.
The New York Times reported that the posts gained widespread attention, with hundreds of comments and shares. Some social media users responded with frustration, with one saying that the pictures on the targets should have used “both genders, various races and various ages.”
Villa Rica is a community of nearly 18,500 people about 30 miles west of Atlanta. They did not delete the posts but did remove the photos and a video and apologized in a statement.
“It was never our intention to be insensitive, inflammatory or offensive to anyone,” the statement said. “However, we respect the honest opinions of our fellow citizens and apologize for any offense we may have caused.”
The targets were part of a package that included realistic images of people from various ethnic groups, the department said.
Chief Michael Mansour, called the incident a “mistake.”
Chief Mansour, who could not be reached on Saturday, told the television station that the training had started with participants firing at targets showing a white man wearing a ski mask, but that those ran out and they switched to using ones with the image of a Black man.
Not everyone accepted the apology.