Communities

#UseMeInstead, Say Clergy to Police Who Use Photos of Black Men for Target Practice

by Tasbeeh Herwees

January 26, 2015
Rev. Joy M. Gonnerman's photo submission to the North Miami Beach Police Department, to be used for target practice.

The North Miami Beach Police Department was forced to stop using the mugshots of black men for target practice after they were discovered by a woman whose brother’s photo was among those found riddled with bullets (although it took a city council resolution to get them to do it). The police department found itself without any photos of real human beings to practice shooting their guns. Fortunately for the North Miami Beach Police Department, a group of Lutheran pastors are offering up their photos to be used for target practice, and their campaign’s rallying hashtag is #UseMeInstead.

The campaign emerged out of a Facebook discussion between the pastors about the target practice scandal.

“Maybe we ought it make it harder to pull the trigger, and volunteer to put pictures of their family up,” Rev. Joy M. Gonnerman, a Minnesota-based Luthern pastor, said. Together, the pastors created a Facebook event and encouraged others to send in their photos as well. Gonnerman’s collected 66 photos of clergy members from all over the US, and she plans on sending them to the North Mimami Beach Police Department as a statement of protest against police violence in black communtiies.

“It’s such a desensitization thing, that if you start aiming at young black men, and told to put a bullet in them, you become desensitized,” Gonnerman told the Washington Post. “Maybe, to change the picture, it’s you know what, dare ya, shoot a clergy person.” 

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#UseMeInstead, Say Clergy to Police Who Use Photos of Black Men for Target Practice