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.