Police abandon photo targets
July 7, 2003 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Apologies come from the top Queensland, Australia: "QUEENSLAND'S elite anti-terrorism police will no longer use photos of real people in target practice after concerns were raised by indigenous and civil liberties groups." Dp the police have the right to use someone's mugshot for target practice, without permission or consent?
posted by skinsuit (16 comments total)
I'd love to see the S.W.A.T. team accidentally kill somebody because they had been preconditioned for years to shoot them due to the victim's shoplifting mugshot.

On a more serious note though, why can't they use the pictures as targets? What actual harm could come of this, and what right is it violating? The right to have one's icon protected from being a target for firearms? Ugh.
posted by LukeyBoy at 9:42 PM on July 7, 2003

Whether they have the "right" and whether it's proper are two different questions. I have the right to tell everyone I meet that I think they're scum. But it would be a piss-poor thing to do. Except at great need, a public agency should try to be reasonably above reproach, and I don't think having real badguy faces for target practice qualifies as great need.

All IMHO, obviously.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2003

I'd love to see the S.W.A.T. team accidentally kill somebody because they had been preconditioned for years to shoot them due to the victim's shoplifting mugshot.

Sadly, the more commonly used targets feature a black silhouette.
posted by lasm at 11:32 PM on July 7, 2003

Not SWAT, SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) [/pedant]

Really, what have we come to that people are so upset that random photos are being used to hone the skills of those who, when the chips are down, will be the ones trying to protect us from the bad guys? Are silhouettes really as effective as actual photos of people? I doubt it, not when it comes to building skills in analysis of potential targets/victims in a split second. They are simply trying to build some realism into the training and I applaud them for it. Perhaps, to pay the requisite lip service to the PC brigade, they could have altered the images so they were not as easily recognisable, but this is really a typical storm in a teacup where someone has shouted "racism" and the world jumps to agree.
... we are going back to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s, when police racism towards Aborigines was at its worst," Mr O'Gorman said
Oh, please. what a load of crap.
posted by dg at 12:09 AM on July 8, 2003

Since the Queensland Premier has said he would have no problem with his likeness being used, why don't they just replace the pictures of "random" people with pictures of politicians? Surely no-one would object to a police force preconditioned to shoot politicians?

Nice quote from the police union chief here:

"You're trying to get a situation where there could be Aboriginal hostages, there could be Aboriginal terrorists, there could be white ones, there could be - heaven forbid - Arab ones."

No problem with police racism in Queensland, no sirree.
posted by ceiriog at 1:05 AM on July 8, 2003

Another gem from the police union president, Gary Wilkinson:

GERALD TOOTH: And as to the question of whether there have ever been any Aboriginal terrorists which would warrant the use of their images?

GARY WILKINSON: I don't know, but they're always threatening in the newspaper that they're going to be.

Operative word being "they".
posted by ceiriog at 1:18 AM on July 8, 2003

Haven't you ever thrown darts at a picture torn from a magazine? I have, so sue me.
posted by Joeforking at 3:54 AM on July 8, 2003

That Wilkinson guy is quite smart, but you don't have to leave the article to figure it out: "If our SERT officers decide that this gives them the edge that they need, then I really don't care."

Why don't they buy the ones at lasm's link ? Or take pictures of themselves or other officers dressed up? Ask fellow aboriginal officers to pose for those "special" targets?

Joeforking - here's a place to get dartboard covers.
posted by magullo at 4:35 AM on July 8, 2003

For the people all gung-ho on using people's pictures for target practice. How about the presidents picture? A big 8X10" glossy of POTUS himself?
posted by substrate at 5:17 AM on July 8, 2003

Why not just use some stock art? Its royalty free, and the people in the art agreed to those terms.
posted by benjh at 5:31 AM on July 8, 2003

What a fucking non-story. Sometimes the Australian news media is so pedestrian.
posted by GrahamVM at 6:35 AM on July 8, 2003

"a set of 28 black and white police file photographs, including the faces of three Aboriginal people." - so 25 of the people depicted were not Aboriginal people - they could be 25 white Aussies. Has it been proven that the three Aboriginies were always the "bad guys" during shooting practice? Cause that would be a story.
posted by dabitch at 6:54 AM on July 8, 2003

Blame shitsack Pauline Hanson. Please. Somehow.

Advertisement : I am willing to sell my likeness to the Queensland Police to use as a target in perpetuity, for the right price.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:13 AM on July 8, 2003

Not SWAT, SERT (Special Emergency Response Team)

Is there also an Plain-Old Ordinary Emergency Response Team? A POO-ERT?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 AM on July 8, 2003

PERT just didn't have the right ring to it...

stavros - Y'know, that's not a bad idea - I'd sell my likeness to the Queensland cops for target practice.

I just wouldn't sell it here in the States.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2003

How about the presidents picture?
Australia has no president.

I blame Pauline Hanson. But then, I try to blame her for most things that go strangely bad around here.

stavrosthewonderchicken - I sent a photo of you to my friend in the police force and they are now using it for target practice. I got a good price for it too, so that should make you happy.
posted by dg at 4:22 PM on July 8, 2003

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