June 11, 2020 / 5:12 AM / 2 months ago

U.S. network pulls live police documentary show amid protests against racism

June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. TV network A&E has canceled a live documentary show on police officers in action, the latest media company to reassess their content amid widespread protests against law enforcement brutality on people of color in the country.

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E Networks, a joint venture between Hearst Communications and Walt Disney Co , said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, ViacomCBS Inc owned Paramount Network canceled reality TV show “Cops” that debuted in 1989 and was considered a pioneer of reality television as it followed real-life police on the job.

Such shows have come under criticism for glorifying law enforcement without any footage of police brutality.

Media companies are revisiting their programming as mass protests against racial discrimination rage across the United States following the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in police custody.

A&E’s decision follows U.S. media reports earlier this week that an unaired video filmed by a Live PD crew of a black man’s death in police custody in 2019 was destroyed.

"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 told here the USA Today.

The decision, a reversal from the network's plan to extend the show's contract a month ago, surprised Live PD host Dan Abrams. "Shocked & beyond disappointed about this," Abrams, a journalist and founder of news website Mediaite, tweeted here (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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