Texas Bans Reality TV Crews From Riding With Police

The newly enacted law is named for Javier Ambler, who died in police custody while a crew from ‘Live PD’ was on the scene.

If reality cop shows ever make a comeback, they’ll have to do so outside of Texas.

The state’s governor, Greg Abbott, on Wednesday signed a bill that would bar law enforcement agencies in Texas from contracting with TV producers to film officers on duty “for the purpose of creating a reality television show” (the text of the bill is here). The bill, introduced by Democratic state Rep. James Talarico, is named Javier Ambler’s Law for an Austin man who died in police custody after a crew from A&E’s Live PD filmed his arrest.

The bill — the first statewide ban on reality crews riding along with cops — had broad bipartisan support in the state legislature, passing the House and Senate by wide margins.

Ambler died in March 2019 after sheriff’s deputies from Williamson County, Texas, pursued him over a traffic violation. After stopping him in Austin (which lies in neighboring Travis County), the deputies used tasers on him multiple times despite Ambler’s pleas (as seen in police camera footage) that he was having trouble breathing and had congestive heart failure.

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