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‘Live PD’ cancelled on the heels of ‘Cops’ amid Black Lives Matter protests

File photo from 'Live PD' . Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

In a similar manner to the recent cancellation of CopsAmerica’s longest-running reality series — A&E has made the decision to drop its hit police/crime docuseries Live PD.

The American TV network confirmed the program’s cancellation on Wednesday in a statement that accredited its decision to the ongoing anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests triggered by the death of George Floyd last month, according to the Associated Press.

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

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“With that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments,” the statement concluded.

COPS, ‘800th Episode Milestone’, (Season 23, ep. 2301, aired Sept. 11, 2010), 1989-. photo: © Fox Broadcasting / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Live PD premiered on A&E in October 2016 and ran for four complete seasons and nearly 300 episodes. Each episode, it gave viewers an in-depth look at police encounters and patrols across the U.S.

The series was hosted by Dan Abrams and featured added play-by-play commentary from co-hosts Tom Morris Jr. and Sgt. Sean “Sticks” Larkin — who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Lana Del Rey.

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Since the death of Floyd, a Black man, on May 25, Black Lives Matter protests have been raging on across not only the U.S., but all across the world too.

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Floyd died in police custody after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis. He was 46.

On top of that, Live PD‘s cancellation comes only a day after reports from both the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV that Javier Ambler — another Black man — 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 the 40-year-old’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.

Click to play video 'George Floyd’s brother breaks down about Minneapolis video: ‘You don’t even do that to an animal’' George Floyd’s brother breaks down about Minneapolis video: ‘You don’t even do that to an animal’
George Floyd’s brother breaks down about Minneapolis video: ‘You don’t even do that to an animal’ – Jun 10, 2020

In a previous statement, A&E claimed that the footage of this never aired because of a policy against showing a death, and that the network did not keep the footage after it was informed the initial investigation had closed.

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A&E added that 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.”

READ MORE: ‘Cops’ cancelled after 30 years following George Floyd death

In response to the cancellation of Live PD, Abrams, 54, took to Twitter expressing his disappointment.

He wrote: “Shocked and beyond disappointed about this. 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.”

Just as Paramount Network did with Cops, A&E had already ceased airing episodes of Live PD before announcing on June 10 that it had dropped the show altogether.

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After three decades, 32 seasons and 1,100 episodes of police officers chasing and arresting alleged baddies, Cops was officially cancelled last week.

Global News has reached out to A&E seeking further comment.

— With files from the Associated Press

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca