PBS to Present “ARMED IN AMERICA,” a Special Two-Night Television Event on Monday, May 9, and Tuesday, May 10

Broadcasts of Acclaimed INDEPENDENT LENS Films “Peace Officer” and
“The Armor of Light” Will be Followed by Town Hall Conversations Hosted
by NPR’s Michel Martin

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PBS announced today that ARMED IN AMERICA, a special two-night
television event exploring the nation’s rising gun violence, is
scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10, 2016. ARMED IN AMERICA
centers around two acclaimed documentaries presented by INDEPENDENT
: “Peace Officer, about a former sheriff who,
after establishing and training Utah’s first SWAT team, raises questions
about the dangers of what he sees as the increased militarization of
police when that same unit kills his son-in-law 30 years later (airs
Monday, May 9, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET on PBS, check local listings), and “The
Armor of Light
,which profiles the faith journeys of two
Christians as they fight gun violence: the mother of a teenage shooting
victim and an evangelical minister who questions whether one can be both
pro-gun and pro-life. (airs Tuesday, May 10, 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET on PBS,
check local listings). One-hour town hall conversations about the issues
presented in the films will immediately follow both broadcasts. Viewers
will be able to watch the two-night event on-air and online via a
live stream simulcast on pbs.org/armedinamerica,
and are encouraged to engage in the conversation using the hashtags
#PeaceOfficerPBS and #ArmorOfLightPBS.

Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” will
moderate these special discussions. Both ARMED IN AMERICA town
halls will be taped at the Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, on
Wednesday, April 27.

“PBS is committed to presenting programs that focus on critical issues
facing our nation and providing a platform for discussion,” said Marie
Nelson, Vice President, News and Public Affairs, PBS. “While the debate
over guns may divide our country, the devastating toll of gun violence
is something that everyone is united against. We hope the broadcast of
these films, and the town hall conversations to follow, will help foster
a public dialogue around these complex issues.”

‘Peace Officer’” and ‘The Armor of Light’ are two
powerful films that present unexpected perspectives on gun violence,”
said Lois Vossen, INDEPENDENT LENS executive producer. “Former
sheriff Dub Lawrence asks what is happening to law enforcement when
officers sworn to serve the public appear to be using increasingly
aggressive tactics against that public. And conservative evangelical
minister Rob Schenck finds himself at odds with many other Christians as
he asks whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Probing
deeply into some of the most difficult questions facing our country,
these films urge us to take a hard look at our nation and ourselves.”

As a multi-platform initiative, ARMED IN AMERICA will also
deliver content and conversation through a robust digital presence and
social media discussion. Live perspectives shared on social media during
the broadcast will be directly integrated into the on-air broadcast and
aggregated online in a social hub for continued dialogue and discussion.

Full details of both films and their subsequent town hall conversations

Winner of both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary
at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, “Peace Officer” examines the
increasingly militarized state of American police through the story of
William “Dub” Lawrence, who uses his investigative skills to uncover the
truth about not only his son-in-law’s death but other officer-involved
shootings in his community, while tackling larger questions about the
changing face of peace officers nationwide. Directed by Scott
Christopherson and Brad Barber, “Peace Officer” premieres on INDEPENDENT
, Monday, May 9, 2016, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET (check
local listings
) on PBS.

“Peace Officer” will be followed at 10:30 p.m. by ARMED IN
AMERICA: Police & Guns
, a one-hour town hall conversation
exploring whether U.S. police forces are becoming increasingly
militarized. Among those confirmed to participate in this conversation
are Mr. Lawrence; Betty Taylor, former Winfield, Mo. Police Chief and
SWAT Team Member; Clifton Kinnie, student activist; Anthony Batts,
former Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department; Richard Beary,
University of Central Florida Police Chief; and Susan Rahr, Seattle
Precinct Commander.

“The Armor of Light” follows two people of faith who come
together to explore the contradictions of a nation rife with gun
violence: Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister who is
trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun
violence in America, and Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, an
unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida and whose story casts a
spotlight on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws. Directed by Abigail
Disney and produced and co-directed by Kathleen Hughes, “The Armor of
premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tuesday, May 10,
2016, 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET (check
local listings
) on PBS.

“The Armor of Light” will be followed at 9:30 p.m. by ARMED IN
AMERICA: Faith & Guns,
a one-hour town hall conversation
exploring the relationship between faith and guns in America. Reverend
Schenck and Ms. McBath are among those confirmed to participate in this
conversation, along with Reverend Joel Hunter, Pastor of Northland
Church; Shane Claiborne, Evangelical community organizer; Dianna Hobbs,
Christian blogger; Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, Professor at Liberty
University; Reverend Kenneth Blanchard, author of Black Man with a Gun;
and Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

The town hall conversations will be moderated by award-winning
journalist Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Outside the studio, she hosts “Michel Martin: Going There,” an ambitious
live event series in collaboration with NPR Member Stations all over the
country. Martin joined NPR in 2006, where she launched and hosted “Tell
Me More,” a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show from 2007-2014. Prior
to NPR, Martin was an on-air journalist for ABC News. Previously she
also covered politics for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington

After their broadcasts, both films and the subsequent town hall
discussions will be available to watch on PBS.org and across all
platforms and devices that support PBS video streaming apps, including
Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast, as well as Android,
iOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices.

Both “Peace Officer” and “The Armor of Light” are being
shown in cities across the country as part of Indie
Lens Pop-Up
, the neighborhood screening series that brings people
together for community-driven conversations around films from INDEPENDENT

, an online library with more than 120,000 digital
resources for preK-12 teachers and students, will make clips, discussion
guides, and other classroom resources from “Peace Officer,” “The
Armor of Light,”
and the ARMED IN AMERICA Town Halls
available to teachers and students to facilitate discussion and
classroom engagement. This material will complement a wide range of
other PBS LearningMedia resources addressing gun violence such as Not
in Our Town
, A
Path to Violence
, After
, U.S.
Gun Homicides: Visualizing the Numbers
, and America
After Ferguson

ARMED IN AMERICA is produced by Lincoln Square Productions for


INDEPENDENT LENS is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing
on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET. The acclaimed series features
documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and
unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent
Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with
additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation. For more, visit pbs.org/independentlens.
Join the conversation: facebook.com/independentlens
and on Twitter @IndependentLens.

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