Following the show’s production ending in the wake of protests against police brutality, “Live PD” co-host Dan Abrams is clearing things up about the death of a 40-year-old who died in police custody while the show’s cameras rolled.
In addition to discussing the show’s effective cancellation, Abrams talked about the March 2019 death of Javier Ambler after the network revealed footage filmed by “Live PD” camera crews of the incident was destroyed and cannot be turned over to investigators.
Abrams noted that the footage was destroyed per the show’s policy in an effort for its cameras to remain neutral.
“Live PD had a long-standing policy to only keep footage for a few weeks absent a specific legal request to retain it and all of the departments we followed were aware of that policy,” he wrote on his Law And Crime website. “The reason for this policy was so that we did not become an arm of law enforcement attempting to use ‘Live PD’ videos to prosecute citizens seen on the footage. ‘Live PD’ was there to chronicle law enforcement, not to assist the police as a video repository for prosecuting alleged criminals.”
He continued: “In this particular case, the Williamson County Sheriff apparently requested that ‘Live PD’ retain the video pending an investigation. ‘Live PD’ did just that for three months until June, 2019 when the Williamson County Sheriff informed’ Live PD’ attorneys that their investigation was complete using the body-cam footage that they had.”
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Williamson County sheriff’s deputies pulled Ambler over for failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic. Close to a half-hour later, the 40-year-old postal worker and father of two was held down by officers who used tasers on him four times. Ambler reportedly pleaded with officers to show mercy, telling them that he had congestive heart failure and couldn’t breathe. He was later pronounced dead.
Given the extremely regrettable way the traffic stopped turned out, Abrams noted that he wishes the policy had an exception in place for just this type of scenario.
“Given what happened, I wish the tape had been preserved and the policy should have had an exception for this sort of situation. Many of us were advocating for a change in the policy before the show was canceled,” he wrote.
He added that he wished the show aired “everything up to Javier Ambler’s final moments. It would have been very difficult to watch but in an ongoing effort to show all sides of policing I wish this had been aired just as we had shown many other controversial moments that led to criticism of, and appreciation for, police.”