A long-running and hugely popular reality TV show that followed police officers on the streets of the US has been cancelled amid the ongoing fallout from the death of George Floyd.
‘Cops’ has been on the air since 1989 but has been accused of glorifying law enforcement and of having a racial bias in the suspects shown being arrested.
In 2004, a study of the show concluded it was racially skewed because it featured police arresting Black and Latinx suspects for violent crimes at rates disproportionately higher than in reality.
Last year, the podcast Running From the Cops came to similar conclusions.
The controversial show had been on the Paramount Network (then known as Spike TV) since 2013, after a 25-season run on Fox.
Last week, the network said it was temporarily pulling ‘Cops’ from its lineup, delaying this week’s start of the show’s 33rd season ‘out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives,’ a spokesperson said.
On Tuesday Paramount Network made the move permanent, saying: ”‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”
Running From the Cops also found the show’s producers let police departments have the final say in what was aired on the show, effectively allowing them to control how they were portrayed.
In other cases, police used aggressive tactics condemned by the Justice Department, but argued they were protected under the premise of a show that shines a positive light on cops.
Additional reporting by Lydia O’Connor