A Travis County grand jury has indicted Jason Nassour for third-degree felony tampering with physical evidence. Nassour was first indicted in Williamson County last September on a similar charge. Bond has been set for Nassour at $15,000.
"I know that these indictments will not bring peace to the Ambler family. No parent should have to bury their child," said Travis County DA José Garza in a release. "But we remain committed to seeing this through on behalf of not just Javier Ambler, but also our community."
Garza held a virtual press conference on the indictment Wednesday evening and was joined by Williamson County DA Shawn Dick and members of Ambler's family. Watch the press conference below:
The tampering charges are related to missing video footage shot by Live PD crews at the scene of Ambler's arrest and death. According to Travis County DA Jose Garza, the footage "remains unaccounted for to this day."
The production company behind Live PD, Big Fish Entertainment, in a federal lawsuit against the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and Austin Police Department, says no local agency ever filed a valid subpoena for its footage and that due to this, they deleted the footage in accordance with the company's agreement with Williamson County.
The indictment comes two days after two former Williamson County Sheriff's deputies were indicted for second-degree manslaughter in Ambler's in-custody death in March 2019.
The same grand jury also heard evidence related to the involvement of former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, but no details will be released on whether he is being indicted until a warrant is served.
Chody was also previously indicted for tampering with evidence in September in Williamson County.
WHO IS JAVIER AMBLER?
Javier Ambler was killed during an altercation with Williamson County deputies. On March 28, 2019, deputies pursued Ambler's car from Williamson County into Travis County where he died while deputies were trying to take him into custody. Deputies pursued him because he allegedly failed to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic.
After crashing his vehicle near the intersection of Saint John’s and Bennett, deputies struggled to handcuff Ambler, resulting in the use of a stun gun several times.
Police body camera video from the APD of Ambler’s death shows the gasping 400-pound man telling the deputies that he wants to comply with their demands but that he can’t because he has congestive heart failure.
"I am not resisting," Ambler cries. "Sir, I can’t breathe. ... Please. ... Please."
A Live PD camera crew was also on the scene at the time of Ambler's arrest, shadowing deputies as part of the show, but the incident was never broadcast and video was deleted. Big Fish Entertainment says in their lawsuit that WCSO and APD misrepresented information about the video Live PD recorded.
A&E Network canceled Live PD following weeks of protests inspired by the death of George Floyd and reports on the Ambler case. The cancellation was announced a day after the similar show "Cops," on the air for 33 seasons, was dropped by the Paramount Network.
State Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) has filed HB 54, which would ban Texas law enforcement agencies from participating in reality TV shows. That bill was sparked by Ambler's death and his sister helped lawmakers draft the bill.