TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- Many Terre Haute community members gathered Monday to discuss the issue of Live PD in the city.
"The show is for entertainment value but it's on the back of the poor," Sylvester Edwards, President for the Greater Terre Haute NAACP branch said.
STATEMENT FROM THE NAACP
"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."
- 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 a 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.
Angel Gayler, the owner of Sweeper World was one of the community members there. She told a story about ordering a part for her business from someone who she's worked with for 20 years. He doesn't live in the area and said the only person he knows from Terre Haute, is her. Last week he brought up Live PD and asked if the town was "full of a bunch of rednecks and hillbillies"."
"It's very embarrassing for me that my community has allowed this to come in and then has exploited some of the poorer neighborhoods," she said. "Then the only thing you've ever heard of from Terre Haute is Live PD and a bunch of red necks and hillbillies. I don't want that to be a part of my community I don't want people to think of that."
Some of the major concerns Monday included economic development in the city, people knowing their basic rights when it comes to being on the show, and what this means for the future of Terre Haute.
"When we highlight some of the members of our communities in their worst moments we are actually hurting ourselves cause we are a community," Gayler said.
The mayor of Terre Haute said he doesn't see a reason why they should reconsider the contract right now.
Both Edwards and the mayor have said on separate occasions they would be willing to discuss the impact of the show together.