Police in Omaha, Nebraska accidentally shot to death a crew member of the TV “reality” show Cops. Bryce Dion, 38, a sound operator, was hit in the arm but the bullet passed through a gap in his Kevlar vest and entered his chest. Robbery suspect Cortez Washington, 32, was also killed during the incident at a Wendy’s restaurant. Washington was later discovered to have been carrying a pellet gun. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said his men responded appropriately. “My concern with my officers is that they are taking this very hard. Bryce was their friend.” Cops has filmed in approximately 140 U.S. cities. A 2010 Detroit episode ended in the accidental shooting death of a seven-year-old girl.
An open question remains after this tragic—and stupid—blunder: are so-called reality shows, already feeding an appetite for the sensational and clearly inspiring false bravado, worth the risk?