GEORGETOWN, Texas - A Williamson County Grand Jury issued a criminal indictment against Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody. The sheriff is accused of interfering with the in-custody death of Javier Ambler by allegedly tampering with evidence.
That evidence was a video of the incident recorded by a Live PD crew that was riding with Williamson County deputies during the traffic stop.
Austin attorney Jason Nassour was also indicted. He was at the scene following the death of Javier Ambler, acting in his role as assistant Williamson County attorney. He is also charged with tampering with evidence.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick denied that the indictment was politically motivated.
“Let’s make it very clear we didn’t choose this timing this incident happened a long time ago the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office was just notified in May 2020 of the death of Javier Ambler, at that time we started to work with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, we found some information in June 2020 that that led us to start an investigation together, so we’ve done that diligently, as rapidly as we could, there is no right answer, because do you either hold onto information through an election or, do you do it before an election. You can’t let that dictate your timetable,” said District Attorney Dick.
Sheriff Robert Chody went into the Williamson County Jail a little before noon Monday to turn himself in after being notified about the indictment and warrant against him. He was booked into jail, had a mug shot taken, and then was released on a $10,000 bond.
Sheriff Chody is accused of trying to hinder the investigations into the in-custody death of Javier Ambler, which took place in late March 2019.
Part of the incident was captured on APD body cam video. At times in the video, you can hear Ambler tell deputies he has a heart condition and that he can’t breathe.
Williamson County deputies had earlier tried to stop Ambler for driving on the highway with his headlight high beams on. Ambler didn’t stop and a chase took place going into Austin.
He reportedly hit several objects until coming to a crashing stop on Saint John’s; a few blocks from I-35. A LivePD crew was with the deputies at the time and recorded the chase, as well as the altercation that took place between Ambler and the deputies.
The circumstances into why the production team, months later, eventually disposed of the video is in question. It was done before Travis County authorities could obtain it.
Travis Co DA Margaret Moore accused Sheriff Chody of stonewalling her investigation.
He denied that accusation and said any delay was the fault of Moore.
Monday, Moore announced she would launch a new Grand Jury review. “Later on in October, a Travis County District Court will call, in a panel, a special grand jury. Judge Cliff Brown has set the date for that, in paneling the third week of October, and after they are seated, the first order of business will be to continue the presentation of evidence regarding the Tampering case that has now been indicted here in Williamson County,” DA Moore.
District Attorney Moore lost her re-election bid. A grand jury review of the Ambler use of force death won’t start until sometime next year with a new DA, according to Moore.
Sheriff Chody’s first court appearance in Williamson County is not scheduled until November 30th.