Ron King, a Florida police sergeant, was fired for bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to shooting practice. King has said he meant the targets to be specifically used as aids for "no-shoot situations."
The targets featured a faceless black hooded sweatshirt with a bull's eye on its chest. In addition, the persona has a bag of Skittles in its pocket and a can of iced tea in its hand, which are the exact same items Martin was carrying when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman last year.
The case caused a national debate about gun use and racial tension, as Zimmerman maintained that he shot Martin in self-defense. He is currently awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder. King brought the targets in order to help show other officers when not to shoot; he saw no harm in using the images as a reminder for his fellow policemen.
"While others have used it as a novelty, I view it as a tool for scenario-based firearms training," King said in a video statement posted online. "The only stupid act I performed was to believe that some of my coworkers would be mature enough and care enough to use a bad situation as a learning tool."
"When informed of the basic facts, I found the entire situation unacceptable," interim chief executive of the Canaveral Port Authority told reporters on Sunday. "It is not the type of behavior that I want a police officer to have on both a personal and professional level. I find his conduct intolerable and I demanded that the chief immediately start procedures to terminate this employee."
"To the Martin family, I would like to apologize again for those law enforcement officials that chose to use your son's death as an element for their personal and political gains," King said. "I assure you that the use of these targets that are in question is to prevent a tragedy from taking place."
"Such a deliberate and depraved indifference to this grieving family is unacceptable," Martin family attorney Ben Crump told CNN.
Watch King's defense video here: