On Friday, The Greater Terre Haute Branch of the NAACP sent a letter to Mayor Duke Bennett asking him to end the contract with A&E Network’s LIVE PD and Big Fish Entertainment.
The NAACP said in it’s media release:
On January 13, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Greater Terre Haute Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) voted unanimously to express opposition to the active presence of LIVE PD in Terre Haute on the grounds that televising individuals at unfortunate and often embarrassing moments in their lives in an attempt to exploit their hardships as entertainment takes unfair advantage of them when they are most vulnerable and most in need of privacy. Both Mayor Duke Bennett and Police Chief Shawn Keen have been called on to reconsider the current contract and practice.
Sylvester Edwards, Branch President and Executive Committee chair, explained that City officials were advised of the NAACP’s concerns in a letter stating the following points:
- Video-recording while being stopped, interrogated and/or arrested by police conveys the appearance of guilt prematurely, before individuals have had the opportunity to defend themselves in court and are, therefore, still presumed innocent.
- These public displays can have major negative impact on their jobs and job prospects as well as their present and future relations with relatives, friends, and neighbors.
- Such activity antagonizes our citizens, making the public less respectful of law enforcement, and potentially encourages law enforcers to focus energy on the entertainment value of what they are doing, which is energy diverted away from effectively carrying out the demanding responsibilities of good police work.
For these and other reasons, the NAACP Executive Committee strongly recommends that the Terre Haute Chief of Police and Mayor Duke Bennett end the contract between LIVE PD and the City of Terre Haute, effective immediately.
Mayor Duke Bennett on Friday afternoon said he was disappointed that the NAACP went to the media without talking to him first.
Mayor Bennett said he is happy to discuss the matter, but Bennett says he has heard no negative feedback from residents of Terre Haute and does not intend to tell the Board of Public Works to end the contract.
Mayor Bennett said that “It’s unfortunate, but in the world we live in today, the news media and people — everybody’s got a video camera on their phone — are at these scenes all the time,” Bennett said.
It is NOT immediately clear which part Mayor Duke believes is unfortunate. The news media filming and reporting at a suspected crime scene, residents using cell phones to record footage, or the Raw, Uncut, Uncensored, access provided by reality Tv’s LIVE PD and the Terre Haute PD.
Mayor Bennett went on to say “It’s kind of the nature of the business. If you’re out in public, because these guys [“Live PD” crews] don’t go in people’s houses and things,” the mayor said. “If you’re standing on the sidewalk, in the yard or in the street, people are shooting videos of these things all the time. There are a couple local people specifically that like to film this stuff and post it on Facebook within seconds. So a lot of times there is a lot more video and closeups than Live PD ever does.”
Terre Haute News spoke with local resident Theresa Dugger who said she enjoys watching Terre Haute on LIVE PD. Dugger said “I’m always trying to guess where they are up on the Avenues. It’s entertainment, but it’s local so you may get to see a friend or coworker. It gives us something to gossip about the following Monday. I hope that one of our town big shots is on one night, but then it would probably get cancelled.”
Terre Haute is featured on A&E’s Hit Reality TV show LIVE PD that airs on Friday and Saturday Nights from 9PM to Midnight.
Terre Haute Local Channel Guide for LIVE PD FRI/SAT Nights
Spectrum/Time Warner CH. 18 and CH. 756
DISH Network CH. 118
DirectTV CH. 265
NuWave CH. 39 and CH. 224
The City of Terre Haute hopes all 4.5 million weekly viewers of A&E’s LIVE PD see the best that Terre Haute has to offer in conjunction with it’s “See You In Terre Haute” Marketing Campaign. Terre Haute hopes to become a tourist destination with the Construction of the New Convention Center, Casino, Downtown Museums, and the Crossroads Cafe.
New Jail, More Space…We’ll leave the light on for you