MUNCIE, Ind. – Producers of a reality television show are paying suspects arrested by gun-toting celebrity cops to persuade them to show their faces on the air.
CBS publicist Kelli Raftery confirmed Monday that the show has offered some of those arrested T-shirts or cash to sign a waiver, officially known as a "likeness release."
"This release form has no effect or impact on the arrest or the bond," Raftery said in a statement. "A nominal fee in exchange for a likeness release is not typical, but is certainly not unprecedented."
The tactic angered a woman whose son accepted $150 in exchange for having his face shown.
"No amount of money is worth the pain and hurt that I'm feeling as a parent," Dorothy Woods told The Star Press.
Her son, Terence Walker, 23, was arrested Thursday night on a warrant and misdemeanor marijuana charge by several Muncie police officers, including celebrities Trish Stratus, Wee Man and Estrada.
Woods said she believed the show is spending a disproportionate amount of time in black and poor neighborhoods on the city's south side.
Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle denied that the show was taking advantage of low-income residents and said his department was not involved in the waiver process.
"We are just going where we get called and policing like we would any other time," Winkle said.
Walker said he initially declined to sign the waiver. But when a producer offered him $150 and reportedly told him he would appear on television anyway, Walker said he tried to make the best of a bad situation.
"That way it wouldn't be all on my family," Walker said, referring to the $630 he needed to get out of jail.
In another case, Philip Vore, 36, claims Muncie police held him in an empty room at the Delaware County Jail, refusing to officially book him until he signed the waiver.
Winkle denied the allegation.
Vore eventually agreed to sign the waiver in exchange for $400 -- money he has yet to see, said attorney Michael Quirk.
Producers initially offered Vore a T-shirt that said "I got arrested by a celebrity and all I got is this lousy T-shirt," Quirk said.
"I think the city of Muncie has set themselves up for embarrassment and lawsuits and all kinds of problems," Quirk said.
Vore was wanted on a warrant out for testing positive for marijuana in several drug screens, a violation of the terms of his pretrial home detention.