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‘Live PD’ dropped by A&E on heels of ‘Cops’ cancellation

  • AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT / 2019
                                Body-worn camera video provided by the Austin Police Department in Texas, Williamson County deputies hold down Javier Ambler as one of them uses a Taser on Ambler’s back during his arrest in Austin, Texas. The black man died in custody in 2019 after sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used stun guns on him.

    AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT / 2019

    Body-worn camera video provided by the Austin Police Department in Texas, Williamson County deputies hold down Javier Ambler as one of them uses a Taser on Ambler’s back during his arrest in Austin, Texas. The black man died in custody in 2019 after sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used stun guns on him.

LOS ANGELES >> A&E Network has canceled the police reality series “Live PD” following weeks of protests inspired by the death of George Floyd and a report that a crew from the show filmed the arrest of a black man who died after he was restrained by police.

A&E Network has canceled the police reality series “Live PD” after weeks of protests inspired by the death of George Floyd and a report that a crew from the show filmed the death of another black man in police custody.

The cable network announced the move Wednesday, a day after the similar show “Cops,” on the air for 33 seasons, was dropped by the Paramount Network.

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E said in a statement. “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.”

The cancellation also comes a day after a reports from the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV that 40-year-old Javier Ambler, who was black, died in Texas last year after sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used stun guns on him, despite his cries for help and pleas that he was sick and couldn’t breathe.

Prosecutors who are investigating Ambler’s death said the presence of the “Live PD” crew made the arrest, which was captured on police body-camera video obtained by the news outlets, particularly troubling.

A&E said in a previous statement that its video never aired because of a policy against showing a death, and it did not keep the footage after it was informed the initial investigation had closed. A&E said neither the network nor the show’s producers “were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office.”

Just as Paramount Network did with “Cops,” A&E had already ceased airing episodes of “Live PD” before announcing Wednesday that it was dropping the show altogether.

“Live PD,” which had been on the air since 2016, had a more news documentary approach than “Cops,” which let police speak almost entirely for themselves.

“Shocked & beyond disappointed about this,” the show’s host, veteran journalist Dan Abrams, said on Twitter. “To the loyal #LivePDNation please know I, we, did everything we could to fight for you, and for our continuing effort at transparency in policing. I was convinced the show would go on.”

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