Live PD Has Been Cancelled Amid Protests Against Police Brutality
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Police documentary show Live PD has been cancelled amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
The show, which followed police officers in the course of their patrols as they apprehended suspects, was A&E’s flagship series and one of its highest rated.
A&E made the decision alongside MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, which produces the show, citing this ‘critical time in our nation’s history’ as the reason for cancelling the series.
Both the network and the production company came to the conclusion yesterday, June 10, that there was currently no path forward for the show in its current format, in light of protests around the world calling for police reform following the killing of George Floyd by police.
A&E said in a statement to Deadline:
This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD.
Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.
News of the show’s cancellation follows a report on Monday, June 8, by the Austin American-Statesman that a 40-year-old black man named Javier Ambler died in police custody as a Live PD crew was filming last year.
The report said that Ambler, who was stopped by police in Texas for failing to dim his headlights, died after officers held him down and used Tasers on him four times – despite him repeatedly telling deputies he had congestive heart failure and couldn’t breathe. Footage of the encounter never aired and was later destroyed, the report claimed.
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said on Monday that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has ‘stonewalled’ an investigation into Ambler’s death for the past year by not allowing footage captured by Live PD to be released.
However, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said Moore never contacted them in relation to the investigation and called on Live PD to release any footage.
The host of Live PD, Dan Abrams, later posted a statement on Twitter to clear up the ‘many incorrect reports’ and ‘inaccuracies’, saying the footage was only deleted ‘after learning that the investigation had concluded’.
‘The footage never aired on Live PD per A&E’s standards and practices because it involved a fatality,’ he wrote. ‘Contrary to many incorrect reports, neither A&E nor the producers of Live PD were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office.’
The decision to halt production of Live PD also comes just one day after Paramount Network announced it was cancelling true crime reality show Cops in the wake of protests condemning police brutality and racism.
Just last month, A&E renewed Live PD for an additional 160 episodes, with host Abrams saying he was ‘shocked and beyond disappointed’ at the news the show would not be returning.
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Topics: News, America, George Floyd, Now, Police, police brutality, Protests, Racism, US
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Williamson County Sheriff's Office/Twitter