NAACP calls on City of Terre Haute to cancel Live PD contract

On Friday, The Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch said they voted unanimously to express its opposition to the show Live PD having a presence in the city.

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 1:27 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 6:02 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The NAACP has called for the City of Terre Haute to cancel its contract with a popular television show.

On Friday, The Greater Terre Haute NAACP Branch said they voted unanimously to express its opposition to the show 'Live PD' having a presence in the city.

The vote took place on Monday.

According to a press release, the NAACP said Live PD is "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."

According to Bennett and Keen a letter was hand-delivered just hours before the press release was sent out.

We sat down with Sylvester Edwards, NAACP branch president. He said the organization started to look into this after someone alerted them to a police situation when Livre PD was present.

"When it happens to us it can happen to anybody broader and we want to make sure that those who have already been victimized that's already happened we just want to make sure that others are not victimized," Edwards said. "Not only is it hurting individuals but it's going to hurt us as far as the economy it's going to hurt us as far as growth in the community. So, I can understand that we want an image but why does it have to be negative." 

NAACP Branch President, Sylvester Edwards said city leaders were advised of their concerns in a letter. They said the letter stated 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 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.

The NAACP has asked Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett and Police Chief Shawn Keen to 'reconsider the current contract and practice.'

"It's a little disappointing that the NAACP didn't reach out to me or the chief and say 'hey can we sit down and have a conversation' but we just received the letter where they are requesting that we cancel the contracts," Mayor Duke Bennett said. "I would just love to be able to sit down with the executive board and have the conversation and then if we don't agree I completely understand you go and you take it to the next step but it was just a little disappointing that I was caught off guard by this today."

The NAACP is set to hold a public meeting on Monday at 6:15 in the Vigo County Public Library. They want to hear from others about how they feel about the presence of 'Live PD' in Terre Haute. 

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