VILLA RICA, Ga. — Video of white people taking target practice using an image of a Black man has left many outraged in a local city.
Villa Rica Mayor Gil McDougal has ordered the images removed from social media and that’s not all. He’s also asked for an investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Michael Mansour told Channel 2′s Tom Jones there was no sinister intent in posting the images.
Some people in the community aren’t so sure.
“You put this image up and we’re being shot at,” Emmanuel Mincey pointed out.
McDougal called the decision to post the images bad judgment.
“It was immediately clear to me that the selection of these images during training was offensive,” he said.
Mansour admitted to posting the images on social media.
“The perception of it looks like we have people just shooting at black guys and that’s not at all what it was,” he told Jones.
The police department posted a short video clip of white citizens using an image of a Black man for target practice at its firearms training course over the weekend. It also posted pictures. The post got more than 500 comments and more than 400 shares.
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People called the images offensive, disgusting.
Mincey was so offended he went to the police department to file a complaint. He says it sends the wrong message to the Black community.
“Hey, guys. We shoot at you for target practice,” he said.
Many wondered why there were no images of white people used for target practice. The chief says they were used, just not posted.
“That day, they started with that target,” Mansour said while pointing at an image of a white man.
“They ran out of those targets at the range. And they put these targets up,” he continued, as he pointed to the image of the black man.
McDougal said someone should have noticed the message it would send.
“Seems like you could see right from the moment you put these pictures up that there was going to be a question,” McDougal said
The police chief said his officers just missed it.
“We did not notice that because we don’t look at that. Therefore, it was just a mistake,” Mansour said.
The images have been removed from the department’s Facebook page. The mayor asked that the comments remain and said the city will have an independent firm investigate what happened.
McDougal said people are calling and emailing the city, and they are responding to each person, one by one.
He said he wants to be transparent and let people know this shouldn’t have happened and won’t happen again.
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