Port Canaveral Sergeant fired over controversial target practice

Published On: Apr 15 2013 03:35:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 15 2013 06:14:27 AM EDT

Port Canaveral authorities said they fired a sergeant with the Port Canaveral police department after they discovered he was using Trayvon Martin hoodie targets for practice.

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. -

A police sergeant with the Port Canaveral Police Department has been fired after it was discovered he was conducting practice with targets resembling Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie.

Local 6 first reported last year that a manufacturer was producing the targets, which sold out two weeks after being posted online.

Sgt. Ron King, who had been with the Port Canaveral police force for two years, was fired for allegedly using them as target practice.

"Whether it was his stupidity or his hatred, (this is) not acceptable," said Port Authority interim CEO Jim Walsh.

[WATCH: King speaks out after firing]

Walsh said it happened at a training exercise earlier this month. King was teaching a shooting course to other officers and allegedly had the posters in his patrol car.

The posters display a hooded sweatshirt with a target on the chest, Skittles in the pocket and iced tea in a hand.  Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in a gated Sanford community last year after purchasing candy and a beverage from a nearby store.  Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.  His murder trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Witnesses said King offered the posters to other officers as a target.

King owns a company in which he offers firearm training and personal safety coaching. He also spent nearly 22 years with the Melbourne Police Department.

According to King's LinkedIn profile, he was a night shift watch commander and is also a firearms instructor and personal safety consultant.

"We are offended by this. We are outraged that one of our officers would have this conduct," said Walsh. "It is not tolerable. It is not acceptable."

Trayvon Martin's family attorney released a statement saying, "It is absolutely reprehensible that a high-ranking member of the Port Canaveral Police, sworn to protect and serve Floridians, would use the image of a dead child as target practice."

Watch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.

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