MIAMI – An internal Miami police investigation found three rookie officers joked in a group chat about using the city's primarily black neighborhoods for target practice.
According to investigation documents obtained by the Miami Herald, the officers told an investigator they were only joking.
The newspaper says Officers Kevin Bergnes, Miguel Valdes and Bruce Alcin were fired two days before Christmas. It says Alcin is African-American and Valdes has a black grandfather.
The remarks upset colleagues and came as the department is under supervision of the U.S. Department of Justice following a series of police shootings.
Stephen Lopez, an attorney for the officers, says the remarks were taken out of context and that there was no misconduct.
A police union says the officers should have been reprimanded, not fired.