Friday, February 3, 2023

County has settled disputes with Javier Ambler’s family over death, filmed on ‘Live PD’

Williamson County, Texas has reached a $ 5 million wrongful death deal with the family of Javier Ambler, a 40-year-old black man who died during his 2019 arrest, filmed by the reality show Live PD.

Video footage of the incident reportedly showed sheriff’s deputies hitting the father of two with a stun gun as he pleaded with them to stop, saying he could not breathe.

“The County will pay approx. $ 1.6 million, with the remainder paid by county insurance, ”a Williamson spokesman wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The family’s attorney said in a statement that the Amblers hope the large settlement “will be a powerful signal to law enforcement that ignoring a person’s plea that they cannot breathe will no longer be tolerated.”

Ambler’s alleged violation was that he did not dim the headlights of his car for oncoming traffic. How former Williamson’s deputies JJ Johnson and Zach Camden have reacted has raised questions about law enforcement’s response to petty crime and whether there is a place for reality TV in real policing.

The incident did not receive public attention until the Austin-American Statesman and KVUE-TV dug into the matter and released their troubling findings in June 2020, as Americans across the country protested police brutality.

Javier Ambler was returning home from a poker game after 1am on March 28, 2019, when Johnson noticed its brightness, according to a joint report by the Statesman and KVUE. Johnson sounded the siren, but Ambler didn’t stop. Johnson chased Ambler through the suburbs north of Austin for 22 minutes until Ambler crashed his Honda Pilot.

According to a report based on an internal investigation under the Texas Public Information Act, Johnson pulled out a pistol and ordered Umber to lie down on the ground.

He then pulled out his stun gun and used it on Amber. When Camden arrived at the scene with the Live PD crew, he shocked Ambler a second time.

While the A&E series was filming, Live PD told KVUE-TV that the video was later destroyed.

As a result, the only footage of Ambler’s last moments was captured by an officer from another agency, the Austin Police Department, who had a body camera. This officer arrived near the end of the incident.

In body camera video, Ambler reportedly informs officers that he has congestive heart failure and appears to be struggling to obey their commands.

“I’m not resisting,” Ambler tells the officers, adding, “Sir, I can’t breathe. … You are welcome. You are welcome.”

The report said the police used a stun gun against him four times.

Live PD was suspended amid protests against the assassination of George Floyd by police, and A&E canceled the show in June 2020 following a report from the Statesman and KVUE-TV. In May of this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (right) signed into law a law prohibiting Texas police from working with reality TV crews.

Several Williamson County law enforcement officials faced criminal charges following Ambler’s death.

Robert Chody, who was Williamson County Sheriff at the time, was charged in late 2020 with forging evidence in the case, as was Assistant County Attorney Jason Nassour. Both men deny the charges.

Johnson and Camden were charged with manslaughter in March 2021.

Nation World News Desk
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