When Florida Police Used Mug Shots of Black Men as Target Practice, Clergy Responded with #UseMeInstead | Sojourners

When Florida Police Used Mug Shots of Black Men as Target Practice, Clergy Responded with #UseMeInstead

National Guard Sgt. Valerie Deant found mugshots of black men, including one of her brother, riddled with bullet holes at a police range in south Florida last month. After outraged critics drew attention to the police department, clergy across the country began to post photos of their own faces with the hashtag #UseMeInstead. The Washington Post explains why the hashtag began:

The effort was “motivated by our service to Christ and his call to love our neighbors,” Gonnerman told The Post.

“We initially started thinking if a whole lot of us, in our clergy collar and worship attire, sent our photos to them, it would make a really powerful statement,” Rev. Kris Totzke, a pastor in Texas, told The Post. “Then, it really snowballed, and we got people all over the country and of all different faiths.” … 

“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 said. “Maybe, to change the picture, it’s you know what, dare ya, shoot a clergy person.”

As the hashtag continues to be used on Twitter, observers have praised the work of the clergy as an excellent combination of faith, justice, and social media. This attention has drawn apologies from the police department and other public officials.

“It was such a drastic error,” said North Miami Beach Councilwoman Barbara Kramer, who apologized on behalf of the police department.

“Thanks so much for the offer, but we’re not interested in using anyone’s real face.”

Photo via NBC 6 South Florida

Read more at The Washington Post.

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