‘Live PD’ canceled amidst nationwide unrest over police brutality

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 11:22 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A&E’s documentary-style police show, “Live PD,” has been canceled.

The announcement comes amidst nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody, and an investigation into a deadly arrest filmed by the “Live PD” crew more than a year ago.

“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 Richland County Sheriff’s Department was one of the law enforcement agencies followed by “Live PD” crews. Thursday morning, they thanked their followers for support.

The host of “Live PD,” Dan Abrams, shared his disappointment over the show’s cancellation on Twitter on Wednesday night.

He told fans the show’s crew “did everything we could to fight for you.”

A day before the show was canceled, news broke that a man whose arrest was filmed for “Live PD,” 40-year-old Javier Ambler, a black man from Texas, died in police custody more than a year ago.

His death did not make headlines at the time.

Deputies were trying to pull him over for failing to dim his headlights. They followed him for some time until Ambler got out of his car with his hands up, according to documents obtained by CNN.

He was not intoxicated and unarmed, those documents say.

Deputies said he resisted arrest.

Body camera footage obtained by news stations in Texas shows Ambler in distress as deputies used stun guns on him multiple times. He pleaded with deputies to stop, saying he was sick and couldn’t breathe.

He later became unresponsive while in custody and died at the hospital.

Ambler’s death was initially ruled a justifiable homicide.

While the show never aired the footage, a prosecutor investigating those deputies’ use of force said the presence of “Live PD” made the arrest “particularly troubling.”

A&E no longer has the footage from the arrest, saying the network didn’t keep it after an initial investigation into the case was closed.

Another long time show, “Cops,” announced its cancellation Wednesday after 33 seasons on the air.

Neither “Cops” nor “Live PD” had been airing episodes as of late as protests continued nationally against police brutality.

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