Javier Ambler II, 40

Austin, Texas
March 28, 2019

Agencies: Travis County District Attorney's Office Texas | Austin Police Department Texas | Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Texas

Cause of death: Taser


Follow This Case


Last updated: over 3 years ago

Overview

In March 2019, Williamson County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) deputies chased Javier Ambler into Austin, Texas for allegedly not dimming his headlights to oncoming traffic.  Ambler crashed his vehicle at a street intersection and exited the car.  Deputies atempted to handcuff Ambler, breaking his finger, and used a Taser on him several times.

An Austin Police Department (APD) officer at the scene had a body cam on; the video was released to local media after Ambler's death.  The video includes audio of Ambler mentioning his congestive heart failure and that he was unable to breathe. 

In addition, a camera crew from the TV show Live PD was on scene at the time, as they were shadowing the deputies.  However, the incident was never broadcast as part of the show, and the video footage was later destroyed.  According to "‘Live PD’ says it destroyed video of Javier Ambler II's death during 2019 Texas police stop" by Claire Osborn and Tony Plohetski,

The contract between Williamson County and Live PD producers in place at the time of Ambler’s death allowed the show to destroy unaired footage within 30 days unless a court order or other state or federal law required it to be retained.

Legal Action

An internal affairs investigation by the WCSO found the deputies did nothing wrong.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore is investigating the incident, as the vehicle wreck occurred in Austin, Texas, which is Travis County.  In June 2020, District Attorney Moor released a statement accusing the WCSO of effectively stonewalling their investigation.

A grand jury will rule on the case during Summer 2020.

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick says that he only recently learned of the details, and that his office has several other unrelated excessive force investigations involving the WCSO.

On Monday, September 28, 2020, the district attorney announced that a grand jury had indicted Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and former Williamson County general counsel Jason Nassour for tampering with physical evidence in the investigation of the death of Javier Ambler II.

Community and Family Efforts

Multiple Williamson County Commissioners called for WCSO Sheriff Robert Chody to resign, citing his handling of the investigation as the main reason.  In May 2020, the Commissioners Court also sude Chody and Big Fish Entertainment, the producer of "Live PD", for entering into an agreement without their permission. The Commissioners Court had cancled a previous contract in August 2019 as the Williamson County District Attorney was concerned about a lack of access to evidence gathered by film crews shadowing deputies.

"Live PD" was later canceled.