Trayvon Martin targets were not for target practice but were a 'no-shoot training tool,' says the Florida cop who was fired Friday for showing them to colleagues.
Now, the officer has responded in an online video, suggesting that he brought the pictures as a "no-shoot training aid," and that he might be a pawn in a broader conspiracy to bring down the chief of the Port Canaveral Police Department.
So what began as a national upwelling of outrage at what appeared to be an appalling piece of judgment has now seemingly become a nationwide airing of a squabble within one small Florida police department.
It is a reminder of the power and speed of the Internet to ruin – and perhaps resuscitate – reputations all within the space of a weekend. With his video response, the accused officer, Ron King, has taken his case directly to a nation of YouTubers, putting pressure on Port Canaveral to disprove his assertions and justify his firing – all while an attendant America watches and judges.
Because Port Canaveral police oversee the port, not any municipality, it was the Port Authority's CEO, Jim Walsh, who announced Mr. King's firing Friday. "Whether it was his stupidity or his hatred, [this is] not acceptable," Mr. Walsh said, according to news reports.
But King's video rebuttal Sunday portrays him as the victim. In it, he admitted to buying targets that show gun crosshairs on a black hooded sweatshirt with Skittles in one pocket and an iced tea in one hand – which is what Trayvon was wearing, and what he had gone to a convenience store to buy, when he was shot. But as a firearms-safety trainer for more than 20 years, King said he saw it as a potential training tool.