Some members of a Georgia community expressed outraged this week after a police department posted pictures of a citizen handgun class, with participants shooting at targets featuring a Black man’s picture.
The Villa Rica Police Department posted on Facebook that this past Saturday, it held a handgun class.
“We wanted to share a few photos with everyone,” the post read. “Even though the weather was hot, everyone seemed to have a good time. Check out our Facebook page for more photos.”
In one photo that was posted, an instructor is seen standing next to one of the participants as he aims a handgun at the target.
The target was an image of a Black man who was holding a gun.
The images resulted in hundreds of comments from community members, many of whom were outraged, suggesting the department was being racist.
All the images of the class that were posted by the department have since been pulled off the Facebook page.
The department has since issued an apology on Facebook over its decision to post the images.
“The Villa Rica Police Department strives to be conscious of how our relationship with our community members has a direct impact on our effectiveness within the community we serve,” the post reads. “This includes our stance on being equitable to all people regardless of their human diversity factors. The targets utilized in our recent firearms class depict realistic human images and were part of a package which included target images of people from various ethnic groups.
“It was never our intention to be insensitive, inflammatory, or offensive to anyone,” the post continued. “However, we respect the honest opinions of our fellow citizens and apologize for any offense we may have caused.”
Following the department’s apology, the NAACP of Carroll County sent a letter about the “controversial target.”
The NAACP expressed concerns about the post because every target used was a picture of a Black man.
“This ‘target’ is extremely offensive to many Villa Rica and Carroll County residents,” the letter read. “These types of targets have been used by other police departments within the U.S. and have been deemed racially inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The NAACP also said the apology posted by the police department to Facebook displayed “a lack of sincerity, sensitivity toward minority residents.”
County NAACP leaders requested a meeting with city officials over the issue.