North Miami Beach Police Use Mug Shots Of African-Americans For Target Practice

01/15/2015 08:29 pm ET | Updated Jan 15, 2015

Officers from a South Florida police department are drawing fire after getting caught using photos of real-life suspects for target practice.

Critics told NBC South Florida, which first reported the controversy, that the North Miami Beach cops are racially insensitive because the six mug shots used at the firing range feature only African-American suspects.

A Florida National Guard sergeant arrived at the shooting range on a Saturday last month for training and recognized her brother's 15-year-old booking photo among the bullet-riddled targets left behind by North Miami Beach police officers, the station said.

Major Kathy Katerman told HuffPost that the department has multiple lineups for target practice. Some feature only white men, others are all Latino and one features photos of only women.

"The public thinks there should be one woman and one white man and one black, but that's not really what test is about," Katerman said. "We have targets of all races."

Police Chief Scott Dennis told NBC South Florida that officers used poor judgment. No one would be punished, however, Dennis said.

The misstep was reminiscent of a flap in 2013 over a Port Canaveral, Florida police sergeant who was fired for distributing targets of Trayvon Martin for shooting practice. Martin was the 17-year-old unarmed teenager who was followed and fatally shot by George Zimmerman in February 2012.

For a more detailed report, visit NBC South Florida.

UPDATE: This article has been revised based on comments from North Miami Beach Major Kathy Katerman.

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