Florida police sergeant fired for having Trayvon Martin shooting targets
by Michael Martinez
A Florida police sergeant was fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets, authorities said Saturday.
Sgt. Ron King of Port Canaveral Police Department was fired Friday after an internal review investigated how he offered the hoodie paper shooting targets to two fellow officers, said John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
The officers, who saw King with the targets in his police vehicle, declined the offer, Walsh said.
"Port Canaveral Police Department considers that behavior unacceptable," Walsh said of King's conduct.
King couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
In February 2012, Martin, 17, was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who is awaiting trial on a second-degree murder charge in Martin's death.
Martin family attorney Ben Crump condemned the use of the targets.
"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."
Walsh said the Canaveral Port Authority plans to apologize to the Martin family.
King brought two of the targets to a firearms training session on April 4 at the Brevard Community College campus in Cocoa, Florida, CNN affiliate WFTV reported.
King, who bought the targets on the Internet, and other officers at the training site were on duty at the time, the affiliate said. Port officials said King had been employed at the police department since January 2011, the affiliate said.
Police Seargent Responds To Firing For "Trayvon Martin" Target
(Video on site)
PORT CANAVERAL, Florida -- Former Port Canaveral Police Sergeant Ron King issued a statement in a You Tube video in response to his firing last week for allegedly using a target resembling Trayvon Martin for shooting practice.
King, who is also a long-time firearms instructor, denied the allegations. He maintains that the target was a "no shoot" training aide. King added that the complaining party specified that the target was not used. He also said that a witness in the complaint stated that no derogatory statements were made.
"As a result of last year's Trayvon Martin shooting, a company offered for sale a target of a faceless silhoutte wearing a hoodie with his hands in his pockets - one of which was holding two objects," said King. "These objects in the hand were non-threatening - and the target was something that I viewed as a "no-shoot" situation."
King says that the motives behind the allegations are due to internal politics where one of his co-workers wants to ultimately see the Port Canaveral Chief of Police fired.
"I would like to start my statement by first apologizing to the family of Trayvon Martin, for being used as a pawn in somebody's political agenda," said King. "I am being accused of using a Trayvon Martin silhouette target for firearms training in a manner that is less than professional. I take these allegations seriously, and I find that other are accusing me of something that I just plain did not do."
Although Port Canaveral is over 60 miles away from the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida, it is within the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit which encompasses Brevard County and Seminole County - which means that the same State Attorney covers both counties.
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Quarterly Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, D.C. ~ Friday, April 12, 2013
Thank you, Kathi and thank you all for being here.
It's a pleasure to be among so many good friends and distinguished colleagues this afternoon. And it's a privilege to join you all in welcoming Bob Listenbee as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Many of us have known Bob for years, as a highly-respected public defender and juvenile justice system reformer. Throughout his career, he has championed juvenile justice issues and fought to protect young people who are in need and at risk most recently as Co-Chair of the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. He has also served as a member of OJJDP's Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, which advises the President, Congress, and OJJDP on juvenile justice policy; as a trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia; and as Chief of the Association's Juvenile Unit.
As OJJDP Administrator, I know Bob will continue to be a strong voice for all children and their families, particularly those impacted by violence. And I'm proud to officially welcome him to the Justice Department today.
At our last Coordinating Council meeting in December, this group heard from the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The Task Force presented a report including 56 recommendations to address and prevent childhood exposure to violence as victims or as witnesses.
Just two days later, a horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut claimed the lives of 20 elementary school children and 6 adults. And it served as a shocking reminder of exactly what we're up against and exactly how much is at stake in our ongoing fight to protect our most vulnerable citizens: our children.
Nearly every day, the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School is compounded by individual tragedies that take place on the streets of big cities and small towns across the country and that too often pass unnoticed.
Just days after this group last came together, I traveled to Newtown and met with the first responders and crime scene search officers who arrived at the school just after the first calls came in.
In what were without question the worst moments of my professional life, I walked the halls where those terrible acts took place. I saw the dried blood. I saw the horrific crime scene photos. And when the brave men and women I met with asked me, with broken hearts and tear-streamed faces, to do whatever I could to prevent such a thing from happening again I told them I would not rest until we had secured the common-sense changes that they and those 26 angels deserve.
When I left Newtown that day, I was more convinced than ever of the critical importance of the work that this Coordinating Council is doing and the Administration's comprehensive efforts to cut down on gun crimes and other forms of violence.
Today, I am firmly committed as I know everyone here is committed to keep the promises we've made to the American people, and especially to survivors and victims' families in communities like Newtown: to do everything in our power to cut down on violence and prevent future tragedies; to implement the recommendations we heard from Bob and his colleagues in December; and to take action based on complementary reports, such as the June 2012 report of the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women.
At our last meeting, I told members of this Coordinating Council that I would help ensure that the Task Force's recommendations would not be shelved or set aside. I promised that they would be carefully considered and, wherever possible, used as the basis for action and a blueprint for strengthening our robust anti-youth violence work that's already underway.
Two weeks after that meeting, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West and I sat down with Mary Lou Leary and her OJP staff to discuss the Defending Childhood Initiative and to reinforce the need for us to move toward implementation of the Task Force recommendations.
I'm pleased to note that, since then, my colleagues across the Justice Department have taken this directive to heart. Over the past several months, OJJDP's leadership and staff members have begun to engage with a range of federal partners about how we might be responsive to the Task Force recommendations.
At my request, Department leaders have developed near-and long-term strategies for how we can collaborate with our colleagues and counterparts in order to make a positive difference in four primary areas of activity: raising public awareness, strengthening professional education and training, building knowledge through ongoing research, and increasing DOJ and federal coordination and capacity.
Over the next year, I am charging my DOJ colleagues to plan for the implementation of these recommendations. I know some of you have already started to work with us in this planning process, to map existing federal activities, and to help ensure that we're making the best possible use of precious taxpayer resources.
As we look toward the future of these efforts, I'm confident that we'll be able to refine and build upon existing activities while establishing new policies and programs when necessary.
After all, there's no question that we have come a long way since 2010, when the Defending Childhood Initiative was born and we can all be encouraged by the steps forward we've seen in recent years.
But there's also no denying that a great deal remains to be done in our efforts to better understand the causes and impact of youth violence; to prevent and combat it; and to bring hope and healing to those who suffer exposure.
This is nothing less than a national crisis with serious ramifications for the future of our country, and for the young men and women who will soon be called upon to build that future.
The cost of failure and inaction both human and moral is simply too high to contemplate. The responsibility for turning back the tide of violence rests with each of the leaders in this room and far beyond it who has made a commitment to fighting back. And that's why, as long as we work together, support one another, and remain steadfast in our determination to make the difference our children need I believe there's no limit to what we'll be able to achieve.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Are You Vulnerable Online? Get Tips from U.S. CERT
Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. According to recent estimates, this global network of networks encompasses more than two billion people with at least 12 billion computers and devices, including global positioning systems, mobile phones, satellites, data routers, ordinary desktop computers, and industrial control computers that run power plants, water systems, and more. While this increased connectivity has led to significant transformations and advances across our country and around the world it also has increased the importance and complexity of our shared risk.
The Internet is truly a public place and once you post something online, it can be accessed by anyone, and you may have no control over what they might do with that information. To help you stay safe online, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has the following tips for publishing information online:
View the Internet as a novel, not a personal diary Make sure you are comfortable with anyone seeing the information you post online. Expect that people you have never met will find your information; even if you are using privacy settings, write it with the expectation that it is available for public consumption.
Be careful what you advertise When deciding how much or what information to reveal online, realize that you are broadcasting it to the world. Supplying your email address may increase the amount of spam you receive. Providing details about your hobbies, your job, your family and friends, or your past may give strangers enough information to exploit.
Realize that you can't take it back Once you publish something online, it is available to other people and to search engines. Even if you try to change or remove a page, a status update, or picture, someone may have already saved a copy or a screenshot of the page. Some search engines "cache" copies of web pages; these cached copies may be available after a web page has been deleted or altered.
Before you publish something on the Internet, determine what value it provides and consider the implications of having the information available to the public.
Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and all of us are called upon to ACT or Achieve Cybersecurity Together. For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect .