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Jason Chestnut crazypastor
#usemeinstead@crazypastor via Twitter

Priests say #UseMeInstead to cops aiming at black mugshots

A US police department was caught using images of young black men for target practice

What do you do if you're a cop and you need to practise your aim? If you're one police department in the US, you use mugshots of black men in the shooting range. Unfortunately, North Miami Beach police was busted after a woman turned up at the venue and found bullet holes in a photo of her brother. 

As outrage spread across the country, the police chief attempted to defend the practice. He denied any racism or racial profiling, saying that using images of real people at the shooting range for important for facial recognition drills. 

So members of the clergy have stepped up instead. Priests across America have begun tweeting photos of themselves under the hashtag #UseMeInstead, asking the police to use them for target practice. You know, instead of young black guys – all of whom did not consent to their image being used for a spot of bullet spraying. 

Baltimore pastor Jason Chesnut (above) tweeted: "Police officers, as a white man, I’ve been taught that I have nothing to fear from you. #UseMeInstead. Please."

The movement began on a Facebook group for Lutheran clergy and spread across social media. Florida City Council banned the use of mugshots for target practice last week. The police force's choice of target is seen as particularly distasteful, especially given the huge protests last year over police brutality in Ferguson and New York

"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," Reverend Joy M Gonnerman told the Washington Post. "Maybe, to change the picture, it’s you know what, dare ya, shoot a clergy person."

Gonnerman said she intended to email all the #UseMeInstead pictures to the North Miami Beach police department to send a message about what's acceptable. "Essentially, we’re saying: We’re watching, we’re paying attention to this."