After George Floyd’s murder at the hands of vicious police brutality, the last thing any of us want to see right now are the depictions of police on TV. Thankfully, this call to action is being heard.
Just one day after the cancellation of Cops, A&E has also announced the cancellation of its own cop show, Live PD, after four seasons. The reality TV show, hosted by Dan Abrams, followed police departments in real time on patrol.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” the network 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.”
After the show’s cancellation was announced, Abrams also tweeted that he is “Shocked & beyond disappointed.”
But many wonder if the network is serving the public or their own interests after it was revealed on Tuesday that Live PD captured a man’s final moments after he was detained last year—and then later destroyed the footage.
Newly released body-cam footage shows that 40-year-old Javier Ambler had repeatedly told officers, “I can’t breathe,” before his death in police custody on March 28, 2019, after an officer, who was accompanied by a Live PD camera crew, pulled him over for driving with his high beams on. He died at the scene of the stop, one of the officer’s body-cam footage shows. Fifteen months after Ambler’s death, his family has no answers about why he died and none of the officers involved have faced any repercussions.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, representatives of Live PD said the footage of the incident has been destroyed and can’t be turned over to investigators, who are in the midst of taking a fresh look at the case.
“As is the case with all footage taken by Live PD producers, we no longer retained the unaired footage after learning that the investigation had concluded,” the network said in a statement.
District Attorney Margaret Moore told reporters her office plans to present the case before a grand jury.